Mark 10:35-45-- Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Him and said, “Teacher, we want You to do something for us if we ask You.”
“What do you want Me to do for you?” He asked them.They answered Him, “Allow us to sit at Your right and at Your left in Your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
“We are able,” they told Him. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. But to sit at My right or left is not Mine to give; instead, it is for those it has been prepared for.” When the other 10 disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.”
Perhaps one of the hardest tests of following Jesus is dying to ambition. In my own life I find that I must constantly scrutinize my thoughts and motives for always, ambition is lurking ready to seize the day. But what’s so bad about being ambitious? Would you play tag with a rattlesnake? Would you drive your car blindfolded? Then try pitting your own desire to succeed with what God wants and see what results.
I want to be first. Jesus says “But many who are first will be last, and the last first”(Matthew 19:30). I want to have my own way. Jesus says, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). I want the recognition of people. Jesus says “For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?” (Mat. 5:46). I want to speak up and do great things. God says, “Stop your fighting—and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth” (Psalm 46:10). Do you see the picture? Personal ambition is the centerpiece of the heart’s trophy collection. It easily relegates God’s glory to a dust-covered relic on an obscure shelf of knickknacks.
If I am to be ambitious let it be ambition for God’s name. Let me value humility. Let me be zealous to serve others. Let me revere God and seek His will. Quarantine and destroy that disease that first appeared in the garden—the lust to eat forbidden fruit—to have eyes opened and be like God. On the day that Eve and Adam honored ambition mankind took a fatal heart wound. Worship has suffered ever since.
God grant we may see that the great need of every worker is a firsthand acquaintance with Jesus Christ which puts to death the spirit of ambition. Ambition has murder at its heart; our Lord showed His disciples that ambition is impossible in His kingdom, “Unless you . . . become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).—Oswald Chambers in Workmen of God
©1998 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the "Click here to receive weekly devotionals" box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)