Facing Down “The Donald”

James 3:13-18

Last night I watched the latest installment of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.  In this show two teams work hard to win at a task assigned to them by Trump.  After the winning team is announced, the losing team’s manager has to pick two of the weakest players (in his estimation) to join him in “the board room” to face Mr. Trump.  One of them is then fired and leaves the show.  The person “let go” is usually the team manager in that it was his or her management skills that help land them there.  Last night, however, the boom was lowered on a young man because he “lacked passion” and had “puppy dog syndrome.”  The other men indeed had fire, but it seemed to be the destructive type.  Why is it that ambition… of the ruthless kind… seems to be highly praised in today’s society?  Is this cut- throat mentality a requirement for us to acheive success?

Is ambition a good thing or a bad thing?  Zig Ziglar quotes an anonymous writer who said that ambition, fueled by compassion, wisdom and integrity, is a powerful force for good. … Fueled by greed and the lust for power, ambition is a destructive force that ultimately does irreparable damage to the individual in its grasp and to the people within its reach. (www.ziglartraining.org)

James would agree that the answer lies in what we are ambitious about.  Are we filled with envy and selfish ambition?  Then we are filled with disorder and we practice evil.  Are will filled with ambition for peace, mercy and to produce good fruit? (v. 17)  Then we are peacemakers who sow in peace and will one day harvest a bumper crop of righteousness.

C. S. Lewis wrote:  “Ambition!  We must be careful what we mean by it.  If it means the desire to get ahead of other people – which is what I think it does mean – then it is bad.  If it means simply wanting to do a thing well, then it is good.  It isn’t wrong for an actor to want to act his part as well as it can be possibly be acted, but the wish to have his name in bigger type than the other actors is a bad one.” (God in the Dock)

By the way, that “unambitious” man that Trump fired last night had this to say at the end of the broadcast:  “”I left The Apprentice fired and then walked right into my dream job in construction management.  Going from fired to hired is an awesome feeling.  My wife is now sleeping at night and I can enjoy myself in life and enjoy my family.”   Not bad for a puppy dog!

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