Toxic Ambition


The one who is greedy for gain troubles his household, but whoever hates bribes will live.

~Proverbs 15:27, NET


Make a habit of giving money away on a regular basis: it is the best antidote to greed.

~Ray dis Comfort

I’ve been in the ministry for 53 years and have served churches most of that time; in all my years of being a pastor, I have never had anyone confess to me the sin of greed. Jealously and envy are also rarely confessed. I made the comment in a sermon some 30 years or so ago that no one had ever confessed jealously. I woman came to me after the service and said, “I am jealous.” She did not come right out and say it but it was as if she was saying, “There, I have confessed. Are you happy now? So change your sermon!” She confessed what I already knew to be true, everyone is jealous, some more than others. The same thing applies to greed. Every human being as a little greedy person living within. The thing to do is to recognize that this is true and deny the little person his/her wishes. We are not tempted to give, we are tempted to keep. But greed goes far beyond money or possessions. People can be greedy for power and control. Shakespeare believed that ambition was greed in disguise. Augustine said, “Pride turned an angel into a devil,” and I concur but what was Satan’s ambition? He was greedy for power. He wanted to be greater than God.

Paul cautions us about being motivated by vain ambition. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself[ Philippians 2:3]. Different people saw different things at the SBC last week. Personally, I saw a lot of vain ambition. I saw a mutual admiration society–you pat me on the back and I will pat you on the back. I don’t believe O.S. Hawkings deserves and award nor any of the others. I think the best thing those on stage could do for the convention is resign but that is not going to happen. These men and women have devoted themselves to climbing the denominational ladder and they succeeding in reaching the top. They are as embedded as the parasites in Washington D.C. The Sadducees were willing to murder Jesus in order to retain their power and position: what are we willing to do? Are we willing to condescend, to manipulate, or use a bully pulpit to get our way? You may think I am being dishonest but I would not trade places with James Merrit, Ronnie Floyd or O.S. Hawkings for any amount of money.

Let me tell you what God’s grace has done in me and I assure you it is all grace. I love laboring in obscurity. I have no desire to be on TV or to be popular with the masses. Josh told me more than a month ago that he had stopped taping the services. My response was PTL I can say whatever I like…I don’t have to worry about the PC police. I serve a small church, we have less than a hundred on most Sundays and I am as happy as a dead pig in sunshine. Just get rid of your selfish ambition and life will become much more enjoyable. Servants are known for serving, not for success. A burden is lifted when you come to realize, there is no pressure to be successful, at least not by the world’s standard. True success is being obedient to Christ.

Mrs. Edith Bennich should come home this evening: Dan the man is doing the transport. Doctor’s orders are two weeks of bed rest. Reuben {Lucky} Teague was promoted yesterday after very bad stroke that left him almost completely paralysised. I know Lucky didn’t want to live in that condition so I celebrate his promotion. His COLS will be somewhere in this area, probably at West Meade. He and Scottie Hogan were best friends. Scottie came out of Shady Grove and Lucky out of Pleasant Valley. Johnny Tucker was Scottie’s pastor and Alvin Tucker was Lucky’s. Lucky was a very gifted and articulate preacher. He was a lot like Junior, he knew how to inject humor into his messages. I never knew of Lucky to deliver a bad or boring sermon. This is high praise for preachers.

Mrs. Clara had surgery yesterday and I do not know how things came out. Shohn said things went well and Clara was sleeping when I called. Please pray for Clara and Shohn. The surgery was related to the head aches and the shunt.

Also pray for Pat and Brenda Vanderford. Pat is getting ready for cancer treatment. There are taking it one day at a time with endless doctor appointments as they get sit up for treatment.

We are having an unusual summer with no droughts to this point and plenty of rain. I saw come beautiful corn patches yesterday in Colbert County and the grass on the road and in the yards has recaptured it’s April green. The rain coming this week should make my tiny patch of corn.

I hope you have a good day and thanks for reading the blog.

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