You Need a New Ambition.
You Need a New Ambition.
We’re interesting people. Living in Hawaii, studies show we work more hours per week than anyone else in America. We’re more likely than anyone else in the U.S. to hold more than one job. We have to be ambitious and hard-charging, just to survive life in the most geographically-isolated islands in the world.
At the same time, there are some important things in life we tend to neglect. Think about this: 90% of us on Oahu haven’t bothered to install hurricane straps. These are $1 metal straps that attach your roof securely to the rest of your house. When the next hurricane hits Oahu, the vast majority of us will instantly have convertible houses. Or think about the fact that each of us in Hawaii eats an average of six cans of Spam every year, even though the leading cause of death in the islands is heart disease.
On one hand, we’re incredibly busy people. We’re driven and we’re ambitious. And on the other hand, we’re a little too complacent about some really important things. We work hard to build a healthy, happy, and stable life, and then we do things that could gamble it all away.
Some of us might need to re-think our ambitions.
Some of us have an ambition that’s simply to survive. Others have an ambition to accomplish something significant in life. Whatever it is, most of our ambitions are about what we can achieve, what we can attain, or what we can experience.
I have an ambition to ride a motorcycle across the Swiss Alps. Someday I want to ride the world-famous Stelvio Pass, and the beautiful Gotthard Pass, and the challenging Furka Pass. Our ambitions are usually all about ourselves, and they’re usually not very big.
But a holy ambition is different. It’s a mission God gives to ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference in the world. Many of us have trouble believing that unremarkable people like ourselves can make much of an impact, but that’s exactly what the story of Nehemiah teaches.
The beginning of Nehemiah says these are “the words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.” You might be asking yourself, who is Hacaliah? Sorry, I can’t help you. I’ve got no idea. And that’s the point. Nehemiah’s a normal dude from a normal family. He’s not a king or a nobleman. He’s not a priest or a prophet. He’s got a unique job that puts him close proximity to the king, but in every other way Nehemiah is just like everyone else.
He’s a normal person, which is exactly the kind of person God chooses most. When Jesus chose his disciples, he didn’t go down to a local seminary and ask them for the top twelve students with the highest GPA’s. “Give me twelve guys who’ve memorized the Westminster Confession!” He went and found twelve normal people. Fishermen (like 2/3 of the population of Oahu). General contractors. Government employees (like 1/3 of all workers in Oahu). Normal people.
God loves to take normal people and equip us to do something amazing with our lives. Wherever we are. Whoever we are. Whatever we are.
A few years ago, I saw a poster in a pastor’s house in Asia. The title was, “Do you seriously think God can’t use you?” It listed many of the heroes of the Bible, along with all the things that should have kept them from making a difference in the world. Noah was a drunk. Abraham was too old. Jacob was a liar. Leah was ugly (although, to be fair, so was Paul!) Joseph was abused. Moses had a stuttering problem. Gideon was afraid. Rahab was a prostitute. Elijah was suicidal. Isaiah preached naked (that could be a little distracting). Peter denied Christ. Lazarus was dead (that could put a crimp in your plans).
But the point of the Bible is that God doesn’t care where you are right now. There’s somewhere different that he’s taking you. Hopefully fully clothed.
There’s a group of people somewhere in the world with a broken-down wall, and God wants to empower you to help fix it. Want to know how? Join us on this Sunday morning as we look at the story of Nehemiah, to see how God will use ordinary people to do extraordinary things.