Resource Guides for the week of 11 May

"How do you know that Jesus was a Jew?" … so begins a famous Jewish joke about Jesus. The answer is straight forward: "There are 3 reasons we know that Jesus was a Jew. He lived at home until He was 30; He went into business with His father; and His mom thought He was God!" I have never met a mom (or dad) who loved their children who did not want to instill ambition, confidence,  and achievement into their children. I have never met a mother or father whose goals for their children included aimlessness and laziness! Most parents follow one of two extremes: either we give our children space in hopes they will discover a life-focus that inspires their ambitions or we drive our kids towards goals and achievements that we believe important.

The dictionary defines "ambition" as a strong desire to do or to achieve something (i.e. financial success, career goal) typically requiring determination and hard work. James and John's mother had ambition when she asked that they sit on Jesus' right and left (see Matthew 20.20) and Paul exhorts us to "earnestly desire" spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12.31; 14.1), and emphasizes in 1 Timothy 3.1 that “If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position.”

I am convinced that the Christian life is an ambitious life. It is a life filled with "seeking", "desiring", and "aspiring". It is a life engaged by God, embraced by  Christ's grace, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This fullness does not render us passive, indifferent, or defensive.  Neither are they trivial, vane, or indulgent. Our ambitions are inspired by God's vision and shaped by His promises. Vision and promise create a target we are called to shoot for. C.S. Lewis observed: "Aim at heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither." (Mere Christianity, p.118)

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