Gentling of Ambition

By Michelle van Loon:

Have your ambitions “gentled” over time? How so? What have you learned about those old ambitions?

I was in a room with a bunch of young pastors-in-training, and commented to a friend that I could feel the testosterone in the air even though there were a number of women present.

“That’s not testosterone you’re sensing,” he told me. “It’s ambition.”

As I observed the body language among the group (so many firm two-handed handshakes!), and listened to snatches of conversation, I realized my friend was right. Many of those in the room were anxious to impress the others around them, and demonstrate that they were in God’s flow of things, building lives and ministries and reputations. My perception was that this room didn’t have much space for failure or insecurity….

Not all ambitions fade away, of course. And some who are chronologically mature may be landlocked at a “younger” (not in a good way) stage of spiritual growth.

But overall, I notice a gentling of ambition taking place in myself and among many of my age peers. It’s less about making a name for ourselves, and more about passing on what we’ve learned.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.


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