Monday, 22 April 2013

Ambitious for God

Chuck Colson was an ambitious self-made man.  As a student, he arrogantly turned down a scholarship to Harvard.  He joined the Marines, set up his own law firm and entered politics.  By the age of forty he had become one of President Nixon’s closest advisers.  Later he described himself as ‘a young ambitious political king maker’.  He was branded by the Wall Street Journal as ‘Nixon’s hatchet-man’.

He pleaded guilty to his part in the Watergate cover-up and was sent to prison.  By then he had encountered Jesus.  When he left the court after hearing the sentence he said, ‘What happened in court today ...  was the court’s will and the Lord’s will – I have committed my life to Jesus Christ and I can work for Him in prison as well as out.’

Colson did just that.  After release he set up Prison Fellowship and has since been directly or indirectly responsible for leading thousands to Christ.  I once heard him say on the radio, ‘I was ambitious, and I am ambitious today, but I hope it is not for Chuck Colson (though I struggle quite a lot as a matter of fact).  But I am ambitious for Christ.’

Ambition has been defined as the ‘desire to succeed’.  There are ultimately only two controlling ambitions to which all others may be reduced:  One is our own glory, and the other is God’s glory.

I am ambitious to succeed and there are times I feel apologetic for being so. I think I am being selfish or I am somehow denying God. But as Colson pointed out it all depends on where 'self' comes in this. If it is about being ambitious for God, then the key word is 'God' not ambition. Ambition is neutral. It is what you do with it and in relation to who it is referring.

So I am ambitious to see my Church grow, not so that people will say how good Mark is, but how good God is. It is how this is managed that will determine how this actually works out in practice.

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