Illustration results for ambition
Staff Picks of Free Sermons and PRO Church Media
C. S. Lewis, “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
In 1944, Leander McCormick-Goodheart, a recruiter for the Ford Motor Company, toured fifty universities across the United States to recruit the outstanding graduating student of each institution. At Leigh University, he met a young man named Lee Iacocca and offered him a position at Ford. This was a dream come true for Iacocca. His greatest ambition was to one day word for Ford. Yet Iacocca asked if he could delay the starting date of his employment for one year. He had the opportunity to earn a master’s degree from Princeton University. Even though the ambitious and talented Iacocca had the opportunity to launch his meteoric automaking career immediately upon his graduation, he determined to be fully prepared for whatever opportunities might come his way in the future.
(Richard and Henry Blackaby. Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God’s Agenda. Holman & Broadman Press. Nashville, TN. 2001. P. 114-115)
In the spring of 1883 two young men graduated from medical school. The two differed from one another in both appearance and ambition. Ben was short and stocky. Will was tall and thin. Ben dreamed of practicing medicine on the East Coast. Will wanted to work in a rural community. Ben begged his friend to go to New York where they could both make a fortune. Will refused. His friend called him foolish for wanting to practice medicine in the Midwest. "But," will said, "I want first of all to be a great surgeon...the very best, if I have the ability." Years later the wealthy and powerful came from around the world to be treated by Will at his clinic...the Mayo Clinic.
Today in the Word, July, 1990, p. 17.
The 19th-century Bible scholar G. S. Bowes pointed out the ultimate futility of ambition that isn’t accompanied by dedication to God. Citing four powerful world rulers of the past, he wrote: “Alexander the Great was not satisfied, even when he had completely subdued the nations. He wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, and he died at an early age in a state of debauchery. Hannibal, who filled three bushels with the gold rings taken from the knights he had slaughtered, committed suicide by swallowing poison. Few noted his passing, and he left this earth completely unmourned. Julius Caesar, ‘staining his garments in the blood of one million of his foes,’ conquered 800 cities, only to be stabbed by his best friends at the scene of his greatest triumph....
Who would ever dream of amputating his own leg? Nobody-- unless that person had lost his mind or was faced with the grim choice of losing either his leg or his life.
That was Bill Jeracki’s terrible predicament, according to The Denver Post, when he was out fishing alone in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. He was trapped when a boulder fell on his leg, and he was unable to free himself.
Knowing that as night came on he might die of exposure, Bill did what he knew he had to do. Relying on his skill as an assistant to a doctor at a Denver hospital, he took a nylon rope out of his tackle box, tied it tightly above his knee, and cut off his leg with his knife. He then dragged himself to his car and drove 10 miles to the nearest town. He not only survived the trauma, but with an artificial limb he is out fishing again.
What a decision--your leg or your life! But what if the stakes were even higher? Suppose you had to choose between giving up some habit, ambition, or relationship, and giving up heaven. The Lord made the issue of following Him that decisive. He said, "What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26). It’s a question you and I must answer. --VCG
Citation: Our Daily Bread, January 12, 1995
Leander McCormick-Goodheart was a recruiter for the Ford Motor Company in 1944. He toured fifty universities across the United States to recruit the outstanding graduating student of each institution. At Leigh University, he met a young man named Lee and offered him a position at Ford. This was a dream come true fro any college student whose greatest ambition could be fulfilled at Ford immediately upon graduation. But, instead of leaping at the opportunity, Lee asked if he could delay the starting date of his employment for one year. Lee had the opportunity to earn a master’s degree from Princeton University. Even though he was ambitious and talented Lee…Iacocca had the opportunity to launch his auto-making career immediately upon his graduation, but he determined to be fully furnished for whatever opportunities might come his way in the future. (Richard and Henry Blackaby. Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God’s Agenda. Holman & Broadman Press. Nashville, TN. 2001. P. 114-115)
Sermon Central Staff
YOU WILL MEET AN OLD LADY
You are going to meet an old lady someday. Down the road ahead, 10, 20, 30 years; she’s waiting for you. You will be catching up with her. What kind of old lady are you going to meet? That is a rather significant question.
She may be a seasoned, soft, and gracious lady. A lady who has grown old gracefully, surrounded by a host of friends - friends who call her blessed because of what her life has meant to them.
She may be a bitter, disillusioned, dried-up, cynical old buzzard, without a good word for anyone or anything - soured, friendless, alone.
The kind of old lady you will meet will depend entirely upon you. She will be exactly what you make of her… nothing more, nothing less. It is up to you. You will have no one else to credit or blame.
Every day, in every way, you are becoming more and more like that old lady. Amazing, but true. You are getting to look more like her, think more like her, and talk more like her. YOU ARE BECOMING HER.
If you live only in terms of what you are getting out of life, the old lady gets smaller, drier, harder, crabbier, more self-centered.
Open your life to others, think in terms of what you can give, your contribution to life, and the old lady grows larger, softer, kinder, greater.
The point to remember is that these things don’t always show up immediately. But they will - sooner than you think. These little things, seemingly so unimportant now - ATTITUDES, GOALS, AMBITIONS, DESIRES - are adding up inside, where you cannot see them, crystallizing in your heart and mind. Some day they will harden into that old lady; nothing will be able to soften or change them then.
Time to take care of that old lady is right now, today. Examine your motives, attitudes, goals. Check up on her. Work her over now while she is till pliable, still in a formative condition. Day comes swiftly soon when it is too late. The hardness sets in, worse than paralysis. Character crystallizes, sets, gels. That’s the finish.
Any wise business person takes an inventory regularly. Merchandise is not half as important as the person. You had better take a bit of a personal inventory, too. Then you will be much more likely to meet a lovely, gracious old lady at the proper time.
-- Author unknown
German Proverb: "When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost."
(From a sermon by Christian Cheong, True Seekers - Character, 6/13/2010)
May 5, 2004 “You Can Walk Boy!” John 16: 19-24 Key verse(s): 21 “‘A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.’”
Why do Christians have to suffer? If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that questions, from others and from that whisper within my own heart, I’d be a rich man. So the adage goes. But, when you think of it, it is a logical question. Why do we have to suffer? Wouldn’t it be just as meaningful in terms of our faith if we had lived a life of contentment, devoid of suffering, so that there would be so much more room for joy? Think of all the wasted time spent in suffering. There was that financial problem we had last year. There were days and weeks on end when we did nothing but fill our lives with worry over where the money would come from and how the bills might be paid. This was time that could have been better spent reflecting on our financial good fortune and how we might better use it to help others. Instead we indulged ourselves in countless hours of self-concern and worry. Or, remember that time we were so sick? Both body and mind were thus wrapped up in ourselves. Can there be any more selfish way of living than that depicted in suffering? On the face of it it would seem that suffering is a very inefficient way of getting things done from a divine perspective anyway. What could possibly be on God’s mind to inflict us so? It would seem that there are far better ways of doing His will than effecting if by suffering. Suffering is so consuming, so inefficient and base.
“Arthur Gordon relates a story of a man who had been stricken with polio at age three, and his parents, probably Depression-poor and overwhelmed, had abandoned him at a New York City hospital. Taken in by a foster family, he was sent to stay with their relatives in Georgia when he was six, in hopes that the warmer climate would improve his condition. What improved his condition, though, was Maum Jean, an elderly, black woman who took that ‘frail, lost, lonely little boy’ into her heart. For six years, she daily massaged his weak legs; administering her own hydrotherapy in a nearby creek; and encouraged him spiritually with her stories, songs, and prayers. Gordon writes,
Night after night Maum Jean continued the messaging and praying. Then one morning, when I was about twelve, she told me she had a surprise for me.
She led me out into the yard, placed me with my back against an oak tree; I can feel the rough bark of it to this day. She took away my crutches and braces. She moved back a dozen paces and told me that the Lord had spoken to her in a dream. He had said that the time had come for me to walk. ‘So now,’ said Maum Jean, ‘I want you to walk over to me.’
My instant reaction was fear. I knew I couldn’t walk unaided; I had tried. I shrank back against the solid support of the tree. Maum Jean continued to urge me.
I burst into tears. I begged. I pleaded. Her voice rose suddenly, no longer gentle and coaxing but full of power and command. ‘You can walk, boy! The Lord has spoken! Now walk over here.’ She knelt down and held out her arms. And somehow, impelled by something stronger than fear, I took a faltering step, and another, and another, until I reached Maum Jean and fell into her arms, both of us weeping.
It was two mor...
MACBETH SINS FOR FALSE AMBITION
Macbeth is a striking example of an ambitious man desiring and then using any means to acquire some power beyond his possession. The tragedy tells us that this faithful soldier, fresh from the wars in Norway, is met by spirits who greet him as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cowdor, and finally as the future King.
"All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter," exclaim the misleading spirits. Scarcely are they gone, when messengers inform Macbeth that he has been raised to the rank of Thane of Cowdor. What could keep him from fulfilling the third prophecy--that of being King?
Like a guardian angel, his companion in arms warns him: "And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence."
Macbeth heeds not the warning. Treason and murder enter his heart. Crime and sin follow. All because he gave in to false ambition.
— Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations —
Sermon Central Staff
THE DURER BROTHERS: NO ONE MAKES IT ALONE
Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen!
In order merely to keep food on the table for this big family, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighbourhood.
Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder’s children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.
After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by labouring in the mines.
They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.
Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht’s etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.
When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht’s triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honoured position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfil his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."
All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no ...no ...no."
Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."
More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer’s hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver point sketches, water-colours, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer’s works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.
One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."
The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one--no one--ever makes it alone!
(From a sermon by Philip Harrelson, Spiritual Ambition, 8/6/2010)