Vain Ambition


 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

~Mark 10:35


I know of few longing more dangerous than that of longing for prestige and power over others.

~Calvin Miller

I’ve always understood that James and John’s request was vain and selfish but for some reason the statement, “We want You to do for us whatever we ask,” has never sunk in like it did yesterday when I was reading Miller’s devotion. It reminded me of the Prodigal’s request: “I want my share of your estate now before you die.” They do have a lot in common: both request are selfish, vain and neither have any regard for the giver. The Prodigal shows no concern for his father and the James and John show no regard for Jesus who is about to die a cruel death in their behalf. Ambition is a perilous thing once it gets into a person or a church. Untold harm has been done within the body of Christ by folks who lost sight of their call to serve and set their sights on a need to control and have others serve them. My son has a burden for small churches that cannot afford staff. He says, “Daddy, if these small churches would merge, they could afford proper staff.” I have been a discouragement because my answer is always the same, “They will not merge because all little churches have a hierarchy, that is why they are small.” They have a Pharaoh, a patriarch or a matriarch or else they will have a pecking order. These folks are not going to give up their power and control which they would not have in a bigger church. Because of our vain natures we have constant struggles in our churches for control. I call them “Turf Wars.” I got caught right in the middle of one just out of seminary. It was brutal. When you hear the term “My church,” look out! It is not your church and seniority means absolutely nothing. It is the LORD’S church; it is His body and He is the head. He died for it and you did not. You and I had nothing to do with it. Our calling is to SERVE, not rule. The church is a theocracy–Christ rules the church. We discover His will by prayer and working together. No church is safe from or immure to turf wars {power struggles}. I can promise you one thing: God will not bless a church that is ruled by the flesh. Power hungry souls first polarize a congregation and then they paralyze them. Look at the result of James and John’s question: it polarized the disciples.

It is human nature; we had rather be served as to serve. Beware of vain ambition. Ask yourself this question: do I desire to “be somebody” more than I desire to “serve someone?” Hide your life in devotion to Christ. Spend more time in the prayer closet than in the conference room. Unfortunately, the conference room is not always inside the church building. We baptist are known for having meetings before the meeting. It is called a linear fowl problem…getting your ducks lined up. I been to meetings that were meaningless, the issue had already been resolved by stock holders. The meeting was a joke and I felt that I had wasted my time for being there. Don’t allow vain ambition to embarrass you as it did James and John.


Great day yesterday. I loved the concert. I will quote Sheryl Childers, “It is hard to go wrong when you are singing about Jesus.” I agree. I liked them all but “Then There Was Jesus,” really hit home. It was a wonderful celebration of the Grace of our LORD. I thought maybe the fire was going to fall last night at DBC {I Kings 18}. The fire didn’t fall but we had a good service. I think things in Guatemala are going great. We are getting rave reports on General Josh. I have promoted him since yesterday from Colonel to General. Joe David says that the POINT is blessed to have him and I say AMEN and keep your hands off of him. Joe David said he is a big hit with the Guatemalans. The boy can make things happen.

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

P.S. we got a great rain yesterday while we were at church: THANK YOU JESUS!

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