How does the faithful professional sync up with God about ambition?
Tell me if this sounds familiar. A new opportunity emerges offering more money, increased personal challenge, or perhaps a chance to be your own boss. The prospect is exciting and your confidence is high. You begin to envision this new possibility manifesting into a reality. But suddenly, you are overcome by a wave of doubtful questions. Am I being selfish to pursue this opportunity? Is this me being self-seeking or greedy? Is my confidence an indication that I am being prideful?
Maybe it’s me, but it seems that there is often misplaced guilt that accompanies ambition for Christian professionals. It’s as if we’ve attributed ambition as being innately wicked and evil. But that can’t be right…can it?
Below are a few reflections to help us sync up with God and get a godly perspective on ambition:
Mediocrity is No Virtue
If we connect ambition with sin, then we may also connect mediocrity with righteousness. But nothing could further from the truth. Remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30? There were three servants given a certain amount of talents (resources) by their master according to their abilities to manage them. Two of them aspired to do something productive with their talents. As a result, they ended up with more than when they began. The master celebrated their achievement with accolades and giving them even more. But there was one servant who aspired to do nothing with what he was given. He pursued nothing and he gained nothing. As a result, the master called him wicked and lazy and threw him out (HR policies were different then). The lazy part is clear but what made the third servant wicked? It’s because He squandered two things the master gave him; the talent and the time to use it.
We too have been given talents, resources in the form of skills, abilities, connections, and the time to use them. To aspire to do nothing with them is insulting to God. An attitude of mediocrity conveys that we don’t appreciate the talents God has given us.
Confidence and Humility CAN Coexist
Confidence and humility are NOT mutually exclusive. The trouble seems to be that we often regard confidence as a synonym for pride. But pride is having deep pleasure from admiring yourself. Confidence, on the other hand, is having a firm trust in something or someone. In Philippians 4:13 we’re encouraged that we can do all things through Christ. We can (and should) have confidence that we have the ability to pursue the dream of a new business or promotion as long as we humbly recognize Who gave us the abilities and the calling to pursue the dream in the first place.
Confidence and humility also have a place in NOT pursuing a dream. Turning down an opportunity because we know it’s not what God desires for us is a powerful demonstration of confidence in God’s character, that He wants what’s best for us. It also professes our humility, that we believe God knows what’s best for us more than we know for ourselves.
Defining Godly Ambition
The key to godly ambition is found in Colossians 3:17. Whatever we do, whatever our ambition, it needs to be in the name of Jesus. Another way to put it is that whatever we do needs to be about promoting God’s reputation, His glory. As we pursue our great ambitions we can never lose sight of the greatest ambition in this life and the next; to please God (2 Corinthians 5:9).
Most of us are aware of the Bible’s warnings against the evils of selfish ambition. Philippians 2:3 tells us not to do anything out of selfish ambition or conceit. But it doesn’t stop there. If we keep reading, we see one of the distinguishing elements between selfish ambition and godly ambition. In verse 4 we are admonished to not only look out for our own interests but also the interests of others. Notice, it doesn’t say not to look out for our interests at all; it warns against doing it exclusively.
Our ambitions and dreams should not only bless us but should be a blessing to others. Tweet this
How are you managing all talents (resources) God has given you? What’s holding you back? What ambitions are you pursuing? Do they promote your glory or God’s? Who will your dreams bless if they come true?
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