This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about for awhile. I’m very hesitant to do so as I do not have my thoughts down entirely on it yet, but I figure that if I wait until I have them entirely figured out, that it’ll never come. Thus, I’m going to go on and share what I have and hope that it’s a blessing to some.
I have a book in my library by Hugh Hewitt called “In, But Not Of.” I recommend this book. This book is a guide to Christian ambition. He talks in the beginning about a man who wanted to be a general but never reached his goal and said that if his life was researched, one thing could be found. He did not want to be a general. Had he wanted to be one enough at least, he would have reached his goal.
I find it odd when Christians talk about this area. It seems that if I wanted to go out and become, say, an olympic runner and win the gold, that people would be cheering me on as I practiced. “Don’t give up! You can do it!” If I wanted to be a great novelist, they would tell me to write that great story in me. If I wanted to be a champion baseball player, they would tell me to be at the batting cages everyday.
When you want to be great in ministry though, step back. That’s pride!
If there is any area we should want to succeed in, it would be service to Christ. What happened to the days when we encouraged people to change the world for Christ? Moody began his evangelistic career after hearing a preacher say that the world has not seen what one man on fire for God can do. (Actually though, I think they have. They saw it in Israel 2,000 years ago.)
Moody went out and performed much evangelism and today we have Moody Magazine and Moody Bible Institute. You can draw a line of evangelism from Moody to Billy Graham. Why? Because one person wanted to get out there and make a difference. They wanted to do the best that they could do.
My area is in apologetics. I’ll be blunt with you. I love reading Case for Christ and other books like that and thinking “I could do that someday.” When I watched the Case for Christ DVD with some friends, they asked me if I was going to be in Case for Christ 2. Is that a goal? Then what do I do? I be sure to hit the books and study!
If you wanted to be an Olympic runner, you would watch the world champion and learn to imitate him. If you want to be a great debater, you watch and listen to the great debaters. You read their books and listen to their material and watch their programs and you learn how to argue and you learn the facts well.
That has been a chief factor for me in ministry. I have heroes and I do try to imitate them. In fact, I think we all should. We all should have some role models we look up to. Friends who know me know that if I consider anyone my personal hero, it’s Ravi Zacharias. My preaching style is even similar to his as I speak with what I call a “silent passion.” My voice is not emphatic, but there is a passion behind it even if it’s a low tone.
When I was in High School, Pokemon was the big thing. Now I did watch the show a lot and when I saw the soundtrack, I thought I’d buy it to bring back some old memories. What are the themes about? About working hard and succeeding. About a kid with a dream who goes out to change the world.
I hear that and think, “What are we supposed to say in the church? I want to be mediocre for Christ! I want to be somewhat skilled at counseling!” No my friends. If we are going to do anything, is it not up to us to give it our best? Does Christ deserve anything less than the best of what we have to offer?
I have a quote that I’ve used from Nelson Mandela about how we are afraid to shine. We shouldn’t be. It is not our smallness that scares us but our greatness. Friends. We are great. We bear God’s image after all. Look at what Scripture says about us. Paul says we should judge cases for instance because we will judge angels. We are seated in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus. Scripture says some awesome things about our identity in Christ.
And imagine if we all had this? Imagine if we all had this drive to help each other out to be the best that we can be? Imagine how it would be if every time I was down, I had my friends coming alongside of me to help me and I did the same for them. (And I know they have helped me in the past and I hope I’ve helped them.)
I have recently had this come up more as I have a roommate now. I’d be going through my library and find a book I no longer needed or had a better version of or a copy of and I’d just go to him and give it to him. I’ve also told him my library is open to him any time. Why? His success is mine as well. I want him to be the best he can be and I’m sure he wants the same for me.
Friends. We can change the world. We just need to reclaim our identity. I fear too long the church has put a damper on ambition. The problem in our church though is not that our dreams are too big. They are too small. We need to have the attitude that we are the image-bearers of God and we are to live that way.