I know, I should be finished with The Way of the Warrior by now. I am not. Every three to five pages, I read sentence or passage that goes BOOM! in its affect on my mind, my heart, or my mind and my heart. Erwin Raphael McManus is some writer! That said I feel I should offer an update to a view I preached about once.
In 2015, I presented a message called How to Administrate a Prophetic Anointing. I still listen to it on occasion. There was a point where I testified about killing my ambition. I did. It was a pride thing. I wanted to be great for me. Years later I read this McManus book and see myself in his discussion of ambition. This is what I believe I meant.
Let no one tell you that ambition is not a virtue. Yes, Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each to the interests of the others (Phil. 2:3-4).” But this is the key: it’s in humility that we place others above ourselves. This must be our ambition.McManus, p. 70
When we answer God’s call to servanthood, we begin a journey to greatness. Ambition, McManus says, is on par with kindness, compassion, or any other qualities we deem virtuous. He challenges our servanthood construct and suggests that the worlds of service and ambition must merge. Our relationship with God reflected in our service to others; it’s not either/or, it’s both/and. We can choose humility and ambition, competitiveness and selflessness, greatness and servanthood (p. 71).
Choosing to serve is one thing. Choosing to serve well is another. To give our lives to service means we sacrifice certain “rights.” We cannot be entitled because our service is not for fame or show; our service is for the good of others. We cannot resent our service or the expression of our service for lack of support or popularity; our expression of service is the expression of God.
So, Dear Ones, go be a great servant. Commit. Be all in. Quit starting and stopping. Make peace with the requisite sacrifices, and serve. Greatness is part of every call from God, because to be great, we must serve. Serving is a prerequisite to greatness. Serving is not a beginning phase of ministry. Serving is the ministry. There is always in us the capacity to give to others — in word, in song, in meal, in clothing, in action. As with many things in the faith community, a tweak in perspective may be the solution.
Try marring ambition and service to get over the apathy. Try letting ambition birth some passion about service in our hearts again. Let’s see who we become when we choose the way of the warrior. When we compete against our best selves and passionately drive our service for the sake of others, we may see things as we ought. Selah. Let’s just try.
Dr. Shaunta Scroggins is the lead writer for The Bereans’ Commentary.
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"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."
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