It has been said that “ambition is an internal need to work yourself to death to meet the world’s standards for life.” Success is then an early grave and leaving behind all that you have amassed. Ambition and success are good if your goals are worthy, honorable and acceptable in the site of God.
Measured against the world’s standards Jesus would not have been viewed as successful. His sermons did not produce a steadfast following of believers. They did not earn Him royalties from book deals. His inner circle of disciples failed to grasp the full extent of His purpose. The crowds alternated between wanting to crown Him king or stoning Him.
He neglected to network with “connected” people. He antagonized the religious right and religious left. Government officials were wary of Him. In the end the masses turned against. His closest friends forsook Him in His hour of need. On the morning following the crucifixion the world judged him as an abject failure.
Most people still either hate Jesus or are indifferent to Him, but few would call Him a failure. His gospel message has lived on through every generation since Calvary.
There can be no doubt that Jesus achieved God’s desire for Him. Through Jesus salvation has come into the world. His Name and life are the most well known in human history.
That happened because Jesus lived by a different standard. Jesus clearly did not aspire to the goals of other religious leaders. He plainly marched to the sound of a different drummer. His only ambition was to achieve what the Father had sent Him to do …redeem the world unto Himself.
We can take a lesson from the way Jesus lived. The opinion of others is subordinate to the will of God. Only God, therefore, is able to judge our success.
The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man can do to me, (Psalms 118:6).