Summary: Wherever groups of people are gathered you can observe behaviors revealing a universal "search for significance." The group may be political, commercial, social or even religious, but the signs will be there. The drive for significance seems to be a part


SCRIPTURE: Matthew 20:20-28


Wherever groups of people are gathered you can observe behaviors revealing a universal "search for significance." The group may be political, commercial, social or even religious, but the signs will be there. The drive for significance seems to be a part of our genetic strain. The struggle of Jacob and Esau at birth tends to confirm this. Even Cain and Able, in their competition for acceptance, lend credence to this possibility.

Many believers view the quest as being totally carnal. It can be, and often is, a "fleshly-motivated" behavior, but it need not be. It is not always a carnal manifestation. Jesus did not rebuke nor condemn the disciples for having ambition nor for expressing their desire to be significant. The reason why we want to be great and the way we go about achieving it are the issues to be concerned about.

Try to imagine where Christianity would be today if the surrender of ambition were a prerequisite to being a disciple of Jesus. Jesus motivated His followers by assuring them they were the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He told them to let their light shine before men. The purpose, however, was "that men may see your good works and glorify the Father who Is In heaven."

Jesus gives us clear direction. He taught appropriate ways to achieve significance. When we learn the basic biblical spiritual principles and apply them, we may be assured of His blessing and smile of approval. I am certain that God wants His people to be achievers. It Is the "why" and the "how" that we must pay close attention to. We will Identify and examine three of these spiritual principles.


No one will be happy, productive, or fulfilled until he has an all-consuming purpose. This aim must become an obsession. The lives of successful people reveal this. Most significant people have an Identifiable objective that borders on being an obsession. Often these people are thought of as having a "one-track" mind. While much good may be said about being a balanced and multi-talented person, it Is possible to be such a generalist that we become good at almost nothing In particular.

Students In college make poor grades, become discipline problems In some cases, and later dropouts because they lack an aim. Without a purpose, they cannot see how studies relate to anything, because they do not know where they are headed. People are In and out of different jobs, churches, social groups and communities because they feel no ties to anyone or anything.

Jesus Is the best model of an all-consuming aim. When He was 12 years of age, He was found in the Temple talking man-to-man with the rabbis and scholars. Confronted by His parents after three days of frantic searching, He responded, "Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?" At such an early age Jesus knew who He was, that He was here on a mission, and He understood what that mission was (Luke 2:49).

In John, Jesus explained to His disciples the necessity of passing through Samaria (John 4:4). The classic one-on-one encounter with the woman at the well and the revival that followed reveal how this fit with His aim and purpose. Luke records the conversion of a publican. named Zacchaeus In the city of Jericho. The conclusion of this story finds Jesus saying, "The Son of man Is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

Speaking years before Jesus’ birth, Isaiah, the prophet, said of Him that His face was set like a flint (Isaiah 50:7). Jesus looked neither to the right nor to the left, but straight ahead to His call and mission. Never has any one person accomplished so much In such a short time as Jesus. With Him there was no lost energy or motion. He wasted no time trying to unravel the mystery of His mission to this world. All of His efforts were focused upon the supreme objective of the Cross and His subsequent resurrection.

Jesus vividly displayed an unrelenting commitment to His all-consuming aim In the garden of Gethsemane. He struggled with the ordeal of the Cross and the weight of the sins of the world upon Him. If there was a way the aim could be fulfilled short of the bitter cup, Jesus would welcome It. If not, He was subject to the will of the Father. The test of commitment to an all-consuming aim will repeat Itself over and over again. In the case of Jesus, and sometimes with others, It comes down to a choice between compromise or commitment. An all-consuming aim Is our best assurance against compromise.

Paul Is another prime example of the principle of an all-consuming aim. In his testimony to King Agrippa he said, "Whereupon, 0 King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision" (Acts 26:19). Paul graphically pinpoints this concept In his letter to the Corinthians. "I run . . . not with uncertainty . . . I fight, not as one who beats the air. I discipline my body and bring It Into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:26-27, New King James Version). To the Philippian believers Paul reveals his obsession regarding his single purpose In life. He used the phrase, "This one thing I do" (Philippians 3:13). He emphasized his point by using the definite article when referring to the goal and the prize. He did not speak of a goal or prize, It was always the goal or prize.

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