When I was in the 10th grade we had to study William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”. One of the assignments we were given was to memorize Mark Antony’s funeral oration. It is the famous speech that begins “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…..” As the speech carries on it gets to a part where Antony addresses the possibility of Julius Caesar’s ambition. One of the main reasons Caesar was assassinated was because the conspirators in the Senate felt that Caesar was going to make himself king and rule as a tyrannical dictator. Antony says it like this, “The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious, if it were so, it was a grevious fault“.
Whenever I think about ambition I inevitability return to this idea that being ambitious is a negative character trait. I always conjure in my mind someone stepping on someone else to get to the top. I tend to shy away from ambition because it seems to cater to the selfishness inside of me.
I guess what spurned me on to blog about ambition was a podcast I was listening to dealing with biblical manhood. The podcast was dealing with the qualifications for overseers in the church. It was highlighting 1 Timothy 3:1-7. What is interesting is what verse 1 says about ambition.
1 Timothy 1 (ESV)
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (Emphasis mine)
Wow! Check that out. Aspiration to be a leader in the church is a noble tasks. If you unpack it more you notice that aspiration to be a leader in the church follows aspiring to be a good leader at home.
So whats’ the take away? For me, it’s a reminder that there are broken concepts in the world that are modeled on the perfect concepts that exist in the Kingdom of God. I feel ambitious from time to time and maybe that is not a bad thing. Maybe I need to set my ambition not on the next job promotion but rather on the way I lead my family and the way I help advance the Kingdom.
I think another thing worth noting is that Kingdom ambition plays out quite differently than worldly ambition. Jesus as our perfect example was ambitious to do the will of the Father. He was ambitious to show strength in servitude and submission opposed to entitlement and domination.
It seems like it always comes back to looking at Jesus to understand how we should act and really how we should live. I am thankful for His example.
What about you? Are you ambitious?
Grace and Peace,