Do you have any godly ambitions? Should you? How many should you have and how should you pursue them?
a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work
Individuals have all kinds of ambitions and those ambitions are pursued with a wide range of energy. The stronger the ambition, the more energy one puts into pursuing it.
In the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians, the apostle Paul, as the master disciple-maker, challenges those he has led to Christ to pursue godly ambitions. They may have had other ambitions prior to conversion, but now they must reset those ambitions to ‘factory standards’ – those designed by their Creator.
“Make it your ambition
…to lead a quiet life,
…to mind your own business and
…to work with your hands, just as we told you…
A three-fold ambition. Live quietly, focusing on God’s calling on your own life and with your best energy. A quiet life – Is that even possible in our noise-crazed world? The spiritual discipline of silence and rest is something God calls us to follow? In conversation with a professor of spirituality some years ago, I discovered how difficult hours of silence are for the average Christian. He demands students spend a block of time in total silence with their bible and a blank notebook. Most, he told me, fail this assignment.
Focused on your own life? – Have you ever been told to ‘m.y.o.b.?’ (Mind Your Own Business). It is so tempting to ‘straighten’ out every crooked variation in others, but this does not honour God. There is a place for interventions in the lives of those who are bent on self-destruction. But typically our energies should be focused on using our time and talents for the glory of our God.
Work with your own hands? – Historians speak of the ‘Protestant Work Ethic’ – the fruit of those who were guided by Scripture in their desire to honour God. This is not a ‘Protestant’ issue but an issue of biblical relevance. Laziness is not God-honouring. God designed us to work and placed our first father Adam into a garden with a mandate to care for it.
Paul has taught these believers about these ambitions while he was with them. This paragraph is simply a reminder and he concludes it with the purpose of such conduct.
“…so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
Christians should live productive lives. Don’t be a bad ‘ad’ for a good product, wasting your time and energy instead of manifesting God’s wisdom in your daily living. May God enable us to redeem the time He entrusts to us for His glory.