The Tragedy of Ambition

In the New Testament story of Jesus’ last supper with his apostles (Matt. 26:31, 33–35) Christ prophesies that all of his apostles will deny Him that night. Peter attempts to assure the Saviour that he would never do so. But later that night “before the cock crow[ed]” Peter had done just as it had been prophesied adn denied His relationship with Christ three times.

I came across this excerpt from an article by Gordon B. Hinckley.

So many of us are so much like him. We pledge our loyalty; we affirm our determination to be of good courage; we declare, sometimes even publicly, that come what may we will do the right thing, that we will stand for the right cause, that we will be true to ourselves and to others.

Then the pressures begin to build. Sometimes these are social pressures. Sometimes they are personal appetites. Sometimes they are false ambitions. There is a weakening of the will. There is a softening of discipline. There is capitulation. And then there is remorse, followed by self-accusation and bitter tears of regret.

I think of another kind of tragedy we frequently see, that of persons of high aim and low achievement. Their motives are noble. Their proclaimed ambition is praiseworthy. Their capacity is great. But their discipline is weak. They succumb to indolence. Lack of effort robs them of will. 1

There is not one tragedy of ambition my friends there are many. The tragedies of ambition are lack of energy, lack of perseverance, lack of expectation, lack of focus, and even lack of service. Each day I become more and more aware of these reasons some men succeed where other men fail. Each and everyday I look around me and see the tragedies of ambition. What about you?

Allow me, if you will, to take out of context a scripture about priesthood authority and apply it to this thought. “When we undertake to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and then it is , Amen to the power of that man.2

Righteous desires, righteous ambition these should be goals this day and forever.

In His Name, Amen.

1 Gordon B. Hinckley, “And Peter Went Out and Wept Bitterly,” Ensign, Mar 1995, 2

2 Doctrine & Covenants 121:37


~ by Mel's Boy on Wednesday, 14 January 2009.

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