Posts by John Staiger

Ambition#9. “The ambition that he had made his own.”

Such was the apostle Paul’s love for the souls of his fellow countrymen that he wrote, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:3). He was convicted that if Jesus could save him, “the worst of sinners,” Jesus could save them too. This too is our starting point in our desire to save the lost. Every Christian wakes daily to the beautiful,…

Ambition#8. “Glory for me.”

What will a man give for the approval of others? Judging by the extremes that some go to—a lot! Israel’s leaders saw no advantage in listening to the likes of Jesus. He had no standing with the Jewish Council (The Sanhedrin), and his appeal among the “tax collectors and sinners” brought his integrity into question in their minds. When Jesus’ popularity grew to the point where the Jewish leaders could no longer ignore him, they came out to confront him…

Ambition#7. “Think once and pray twice.”

Christians waste their time worrying about what others possess. Having previously given the subject more time than it deserved, my discussions with the “haves” usually did not end well. As much as I tried to focus such discussions on general Christian stewardship, the discussions usually (but not always) descended into monologues on their “gift to make money.” I never disputed their moneymaking talents, but their underlying message that the poor lacked ambition, or were “just plain lazy,” was offensive. Most…

Ambition#6. “That which delights our souls.”

Ambition without the joy of the Lord is merely self-imposed slavery. King David, the most famous of God’s lyricists penned these lines of exaltation:“I delight to do Your will, O my God;Your Law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). The Christian’s sense of joy is their inner barometer. When the storms of life descend upon us and our otherwise happy demeanour is knocked off course, it is those things which bring us delight that will give us direction. However, if…

Ambition#5. “Who’s in charge?”

Christians do well to retreat to a neutral position when considering secular leaders. That is not to suggest that we are to be neutral towards any evil forced upon us by the powers-that-be, but to say that worldly authorities are just that—Worldly! Believers have faith in God’s providence, not the scheming of men. Jesus explained their ambitions thus: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them” (Matthew 20:25).…

Ambition#4. “All who have longed for his appearing.”

I feel confident that we agree that the “Heaven can wait” mentality is endemic. And that even those who have a good number of ‘miles on the clock’ act as if the pearly gates are too far off to worry about. What happened to the prophet’s cry: “Prepare to meet your God!”? (Amos 4:12). It appears to have been drowned out by the irrational assurances of deathbed repentance. Not only is this irrational, but it is also dangerous. For it…

Ambition#3. “The not so good kind.”

Selfish ambition is the opposite of serving the needs of others. Jesus leaves no room for guessing as to his divine perspective on where selfish ambition takes a man. He asks: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Once the soul is lost, what can a man offer to buy it back…? And even if he had gained the…

Ambition#2. “Train yourself to be godly.”

Listen long enough to the various forms of religious teachings that are passed off as Spiritual Enlightenment, and you will see why Paul insisted that Timothy: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly” (1Timothy 4:7). If, as Paul asserts, “godliness has value for all things” (1 Timothy 4:8), then why does it find itself a veritable poor cousin to other forms of “Human Development?” Since the day that Eve snatched…

Ambition#1. “Mind your own business.”

There is a silly joke about a lady who was being plied with questions by a rather nosy acquaintance. The enquirer asked all manner of personal questions, and finally touched a raw nerve when she asked about her husband’s occupation. The lady responded curtly, “My husband has his own business, and he is at home minding it!” At first glance, we might find it strange that the apostle Paul tells the Thessalonian church to “Make it their ambition to lead…

Them and Us#12. “The Well-intentioned.”

Do you remember those feel-good TV movies from the 1990s that emphasised participation over winning? At the time, a teacher who worked with struggling children expressed her frustrations over the films. She said to me, “Those films don’t help anybody. Most of the children I teach are well aware that they will never be able to compete and win against their peers.” She too believed that the filmmakers were well-intentioned, but she could see that the Participation Trophy motif neither…