The Line Between Contentment and Ambition

If ambition has been converted from a vice to a virtue, contentment has been transformed from a virtue into a vice.  Think of how we use the word in normal conversations.  It has come to mean settling for second best (which is always wrong).  Lacking sufficient ambition, one is content to be something less than what he or she is capable of being.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 127

The Cure for Selfish Ambition and Restless Devotion

The cure for selfish ambition and restless devotion to The Next Big Thing is contentment.  But like happiness, excellence and drive, contentment is not something you can just generate from within.  It has to have an object.  There must be someone or something that is so satisfying that we can sing “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also.”

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 123

Ambition Unleashes a War of All Against All

…ambition unleashes the war of all against all, where each of us becomes a little emperor.  Left unchecked, we come to the place where we cannot submit to anyone or anything.  We along choose what to believe, how to live, and what sort of church appeals to us.  But since not everyone will be as successful in fulfilling their ambitions, the cream wiull inevitably rise to the top and those most gifted at appealing to (and manipulating) our choices will become our defacto rulers.  Apart from our Servant King, who reigns through his ordained means, constitution and offices, we will be at the mercy of self appointed despots who rule according to their own whim.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 104

Master of our Fate and Captain of our Soul, Really?

Ambition is an empty pursuit, because none of us is truly the master of our fate and the captain of our soul.  We cannot live up to our own Facebook profile or the expectations that have been placed on us by others.  When we do try to disengage ourselves from the ties that bind, the whole body suffers.  As we have seen above, especially from Paul’s exhortations, ambition is bound up with rivalry,  factions, jealousy, envy and even fits of rage.  When we are ambitious, each of us campaigns for the office of emperor.  In the process, we’re tearing Christ’s body, our homes, our workplaces, and our society to pieces.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 93

What Concerns God Most

God is more concerned with our knowing Him than He is in our half-hearted pleasures of comfort, ambition, and success.  So much so that He often allows pain and suffering into ourlives to clear the clutter of mute, dead, and unworthy idols that can never deliver on their promises, even when they’re ostensibly good things like health, family, career, success and status.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 148

We Must Renounce our Bondage

Very soon in a serious life of faith we must renounce our bondage to darkness, we must be freed from our attachment to those things that hold us back from a pure surrender to the action of God in us.  We must live out totally those renunciations we made in our baptism and which we ratify at every Easter Vigil.  And it is here we find great difficulty, and meet with the obstacles of selfishness, sensuality, ambition, resentment, pride, fear, etc.

– Ralph Martin

as quoted by Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page 134