Daily Devotional corner, your go-to spot for a splash of spiritual refreshment. Every day, we pick a piece from the good book and toss in some real-world reflections to brighten your path. Whether you're kicking off your morning or just taking a breather, these bits of insight have got your back. Drop by every day for a dose of inspiration and a touch of soulful connection. Let's navigate life's ups and downs together!
Ain’t Nothing Wrong with Wanting to Be Moving on Up…
Is God against success? Is God against ambition? No.
But let’s not make an idol out of it.
Let’s not make our master passion money or success or our house or relationships our master passion.
Only God should carry the weight of our master passion.
Seek God first, and all these other things shall be added to you.One of my favorite shows growing up was The Jeffersons and Archie Bunker.
Remember those shows? So great, and both so NOT-politically correct!
Do you recall how the theme song went for the Jeffersons?
It was all about success and “took a whole lot trying just to climb up that hill…”
It was sung by Ja’net Dubois accompanied by a Gospel choir:
“Well, we’re movin’ on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin’ on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.”
The Jeffersons was one of the longest-running sitcoms in the history of American television.
The show focused on George and Louise Jefferson, an affluent African American couple living in New York City.
The show was one of the first to portray a successful black family, paving the way for future sitcoms like “The Cosby Show” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Who could argue with the idea that it is a good thing for African Americans to see examples of success among their own people--even if it is in a sit-com? One of the problems of the show is that it equated greatness with financial success.It’s not wrong to want to provide for your family, but if that becomes your primary driver, success via money, you are drinking from an empty well.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with ambition and wanting to be an earner but watch out that it doesn’t become your master passion.
A working mother in the 1930s named Mildred Benson who was a columnist for the Toledo Blade in Toledo, Ohio. Benson’s husband was terminally ill. To help provide for her family, Benson devoted her spare time to a dream she had nurtured for many years. Under the pen name of Carolyn Keene she began writing mysteries for young girls. You may have heard of the main character in those mysteries, Nancy Drew. Benson was surprised at the impact this resourceful fictional character had on the lives of her readers. Many women found the inspiration to improve their lives through Nancy’s example. Benson’s parents didn’t think she should write; her father was convinced she could never make a living at it. But she had a dream, a lofty ambition, and she became internationally known and improved the lives of many young people at the same time.
There is no shame in being ambitious as long as you don’t abuse other people in achieving your ambitions, and as long as you balance that ambition with your love for God and your neighbor.
You want to be great? You want success?
A quote from Martin Luther King to remind us what greatness really is.
“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love…”
His words echo the words of Christ…
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:43)
Today, and every day, we each have the capacity for greatness, for one simple reason: We each have the capacity to serve.
Success may be elusive, but greatness never is.
It’s as simple as doing something for someone other than yourself, as often as you can: your family, your co-workers, customers, and clients, and even those you may never personally know — greatness exists in your willingness to serve.Jesus and his disciples were passing through northeastern Galilee heading toward Capernaum. It was the first leg of their final journey toward Jerusalem. Jesus wanted to keep their presence from becoming known because his public ministry in Galilee had ended and now he wanted to prepare his disciples for what lay ahead.
They came to Capernaum after an absence of some months. Jesus had noted some bickering by his disciples while they had been on the road. When they were in the house, Jesus asked them what it was they had been arguing about. They kept quiet because they were ashamed to admit that they had been arguing about who among them was the greatest.
They were revealing their master passion was to be the greatest!
Matters of rank are important in any organization so it was only natural for the disciples to be concerned about their status in his coming Messianic Kingdom.
We might think that such conversations would produce a migraine for the Master. They did not. At least this one didn’t. He understood such feelings. He understood that such drives were part of being human. These drives to be No. 1 come from God.
After sitting down (which was the recognized position of a Jewish teacher) Jesus gathered the twelve around him and began to teach them. If anyone wants to be first in God’s kingdom, he said, he must be willing to be the very last--and servant of all.
Jesus did not chastise them for wanting to be first. He was not condemning anyone’s desire to improve their position in life.
This is a criticism that has been thrown at Christianity, that we have counseled the poor and the oppressed to be content with their situation and not cause trouble, and thus we have contributed to their lowly situation.
That’s a misunderstanding of Jesus’ teachings.
Notice how the verse reads, “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’”
In other words, Jesus is not saying to his disciples that it is wrong to want to be the greatest.
He is saying, “If you want to be first, if you want to be great, here is what you must do . . . be willing to serve.”
He is not condemning their ambition.
Ambition is an impulse given to us by God to help us better our lives.
A person with no ambition is a drag on society.
But make sure you are ambitious about something that will outlast you and outlive you, God’s kingdom.
Everything done for you will die with you.
Everything done for God will outlive you.
Build your life with marble, let that be your ambition.
Move on up Like George and Wezy did, serve someone and love someone in the name of Jesus!
Rev. John Roberts