An Honorable Ambition, or Not!

What do you really seek? To what do you aspire? Is ambition even an okay thing to have?

What about if it is a position of leadership?

In the classic work, Spiritual Leadership, Oswald Sanders opens his work with the acknowledgment that it’s not only okay – it’s actually honorable. Well, kind of.

Paul says, “To aspire to leadership is an honorable ambition” (1 Tim 3.1). But Jeremiah says to not see great things for yourself (Jeremiah 45.5). So which is it? Is it a wow! Or is it a woe?

Paul wasn’t dealing with prestige or position. His view on leadership wasn’t power or placement. It was about service and selflessness. Leadership brought persecution and danger. It was a motivation about the other person, not the position.

Jeremiah was warning about seeking leadership position for great things with selfish motivation – that was a woe.

The key – how do you distinguish? Not only for ourselves but for others seeking leadership positions.

I know we don’t see the heart (only God sees that) but we can try to discern selflessness and servanthood.

True greatness, true leadership, is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in coaxing or inducing others to serve you. - O Sanders

And also realize – true service is never without cost.  Jesus talked of drinking the cup of God’s wrath – that great cost He took Himself. What an example …

Because we children of Adam want to become great,
He became small
Because we will not stoop
He humbled Himself.
Because we want to rule,
He came to serve.

Can we be like Him? – Small, Stooping, Serving!

Lord, make me like Jesus!






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