I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. II Tim 4:7.
“I need to tell you, Jan, you are not as pleasant a woman as you used to be.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m telling you this because I love you. You are always pushing; you don’t seem to care about the people around you. I saw you yelling at the nurses yesterday.”
“But they weren’t doing their job. You don’t understand. Practice in this town is cutthroat. I will never establish a surgical practice unless I work harder and better than any other surgeon in this hospital.”
“But, you’re a Christian.”
“That’s got nothing to do with this.”
There is a difference between Godly ambition and ambition born of this world. Doctors are fashioned out of ambitious men and women. Otherwise few of us would survive the decades of training and competition required to reach our final educational goals. Some of us use ambition to seek a medical specialty that requires stiff competition. Some use ambition to develop expertise and authority in a field of science we love. Some use ambition to build a private practice or to develop skills necessary to serve the underserved. None of theses goals or the ambition required to achieve them is necessarily outside of God’s will. Without ambition and the hard work it fosters, little can be achieved by any doctor over his or her lifetime.
How can we evaluate the ambition that drives us forward and discern whether it is Godly or worldly? The answer to this question becomes clear if we first answer three others:
1. Who is the beneficiary of my ambition?
2. Who is choosing the direction of my ambition?
3. What is this ambition doing to my character?
If we are choosing our own direction for our personal benefit and developing a worldly character, we are probably defeating God’s plan for our lives. The essence of the Cross is not gaining but giving, not leading but following, not becoming ourselves but letting Christ live through us. Many men and women of God have achieved greatness in the eyes of the world. If that greatness counts for the Kingdom, it has probably been molded by God through these three questions. Perhaps it is time to ask them of ourselves.
Thank you for the skills you have given me. Let me run the race and push forward for Your Kingdom within Your plan, with Your character and for Your glory. Amen