Friday, February 20, 2009

Stuck at the Top of the Stairs

Some of us are born climbers. My mother tells the tale of how when I was three she once turned her back on me for a few moments while at a city park. When she turned around I was no longer there. To her terror I had climbed to the top of one of those support poles on the large, iron swing-sets that used to be so common. She was frightened but I was fine. I just was heading where I knew I wanted to be: the top.

Ambition is schizophrenic. In its positive phase it gets us off the couch and into life, propelling us forward to hopefully be a blessing to the world around us. After all, most of the greatest medical advances, finest literature, and most breathtaking sculptures were the result of someone's ambition. Yet in its negative phase ambition leads to wars, broken families, genocide, and untold levels of human tragedy.

Ambition can also be a drug, and those who become addicted to it are like junkies, willing to sell their own souls for another fix of higher achievement. When asked how much money was enough, John D. Rockefeller, once possibly the richest man in the world, gave us this telling insight into the dark side of ambition: How much was enough? "Only one dollar more."

While there are those with average ambition who reach the goals they have set and then sit back with a sigh of accomplishment, most of us with a so-called "healthy" dose of ambition never get to the end of our rainbows. Often we get stuck at the top of the stairs, staring upward at heights we can never reach.

Don't despair. There is another way to that elusive sense of personal success that few of us ever seriously consider traveling. This path has been in place since the world began, but it has been largely ignored because of its tricky beginning. You see, this journey begins not at some wide, well-trod, trail head but at a cliff's edge. The path of God's Will requires us to trust him with a leap of faith, to thrust ourselves out into a future that only He controls. The beauty is that instead of falling to our deaths we are suddenly given wings of faith to fly to the pinnacles of fulfillment that He has designed for us. Our ambition, our search for personal success, is found in His plan and purpose for our lives. It may sound counter-intuitive to abandon self to find self, but since when can man figure out God?

Stuck at the top of the stairs of your own selfish ambition? Try leaping upward into His guiding arms.



Kathleen said...

"I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness" (John D. Rockefeller as noted in Alcorn's "Treasure Principle").

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