ODJ: tower of…books

March 21, 2014 

READ: Genesis 11:1-9 

Let’s build a . . . tower that reaches into the sky (v.4).

Marta Minujin created an 82 foot tall sculpture of the Tower of Babel in the Plaza San Martin in Buenos Aires. The artist made it using over 30,000 donated books written in nearly every world language. Inside the turret, visitors could hear a recording of Minujin’s voice pronouncing the Word in various languages. She said her mission was to “unite all people”.

Different languages emerged as a result of the original Tower of Babel. After the flood, some of Noah’s descendants found a nice, wide-open patch of earth in Babylonia. They settled there and planned to “build a great city . . . with a tower that reach[ed] into the sky” (v.4). They hoped this super structure would make them famous and keep them united. But their ambition for greatness was self-centred, prideful and godless.

God came down, inspected their building site (v.5) and decided to put an end to the construction. He did this by creating multiple languages among them. Communication that had been effortless became impossible. The gobbledygook they heard from each other sent them running—they scattered throughout the world (v.8).

The issue of ambition can be tricky. Although it isn’t wrong to want success, we’ve got to remember that God enables every achievement to take place (Deuteronomy 8:18). Also, our efforts to succeed should reflect godly virtues such as humility, honesty and hard work. These qualities can point others to Jesus regardless of the outcome of our endeavours.

Christian researcher and writer David Kinnaman put it this way: “Gaining credibility for its own sake is vanity; gaining credibility to participate in God’s work to redeem the world is a mission.” —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

1 Samuel 8:1-5 ‹365-day plan

Read Isaiah 14:12-15 to see the danger of godless ambition. Read Romans 15:20-22 for a peek at Paul’s ambition. 
Why are you at risk of forgetting about God when you experience success? What might indicate that success has become an idol in your life? 

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ODB: Is Ambition Wrong?

April 9, 2013 

READ: Colossians 3:22-24 

Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord. —Colossians 3:23 

Is ambition wrong? Is it wrong to be driven, to push to be the best? It can be. The difference between right and wrong ambition is in our goal and motivation—whether it’s for God’s glory or our own.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Paul tells us that Christians are to live lives “to please God.” For some, the drive to please Him is an instant transformation at the time of salvation; for others, the transformation is full of stutter-steps and mis-starts. Whether the change happens instantly or gradually, the Christian is to pursue God’s goals, not selfish ones.

So, in the workplace we ask: “How will that job change help me serve others and glorify God?” Ambition oriented toward God is focused outward on Him and others, always asking how He has gifted us and wants to use us.

Paul suggests we work with “sincerity of heart, fearing God” (Col. 3:22). Whatever we’re doing—in the board room, on the docks, wherever we’re working—we’re to serve as if doing it for God (vv.23-24).

We glorify Him most and enjoy Him most when we work with fervor and excellence for His pleasure, not ours. For His service and the service of others, not self-service and personal gain—because He deserves our all.

— Randy Kilgore

Lord, help me to apply zest to my work efforts
that I might please You. I offer my actions and words
today as a testimony to bring You glory.
Use me today to point others to You. Amen.

“We grow small trying to be great.” —Eli Stanley Jones, missionary