Ambition & Mid-Life Crisis

Mark 9:35.36

“Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms…”

When I was younger (mid-20’s), just starting out as a pastor, I thought that one day I would be someone great, some great, well-known leader, the head of something big. At one point we thought we were starting some new denomination like the Calvary Chapels or the Vineyard. It seems so ridiculous now. It seemed possible then.

Very, very few really achieve the status of great. It is humbling to gradually admit or realize that your ambitious dreams hiding behind a mask of zeal for God will probably never happen.

A midlife crisis, which can happen before midlife, seems to me to be the realization that you have not only failed to reach your dreams/goals, but also that you never will achieve them. The “crisis” then shows itself as an attempt to lay hold of something new, something we have the power to make happened, i.e. go out and buy a red sports car.

We need, especially at the midway mark, to feel good about ourselves, like we are important, like our lives have made a difference. So we take another stab at it but the “it” is more realistic, attainable… but also a little pathetic.

I never had the ambition to be last and servant (35). I don’t think in the training of our up-and-coming leaders that we encourage them to be last and servant. The reality is that very few will be great, most will be last whether they like it or not. Most of us will be way, way at the end of the line.

I like the little boy in the story. “… and taking him in His arms….”

Who knows, perhaps when this little boy grew up to be an old man his only claim to fame was, “One day, when I was a little boy, Jesus held me in his arms.” Not bad. Few would be content for that to be their only achievement in life, i.e. to have been held by Jesus.

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