In 2021, an engineer with the ambition to shoot an arrow farther than anyone in history took aim at the record of 2,028 feet. While lying on his back on a salt flat, he drew back the bowstring of his personally designed foot bow and prepared to launch the projectile to what he hoped would be a new record distance of more than a mile (5,280 feet). Taking a deep breath, he let the arrow fly. It didn’t travel a mile. In fact, it traveled less than a foot—launching into his foot and causing considerable damage. Ouch!
Sometimes we can figuratively shoot ourselves in the foot with misguided ambition. James and John knew what it meant to ambitiously seek something good, but for the wrong reasons. They asked Jesus to “let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory” (Mark 10:37). Jesus had told the disciples they would “sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28), so it’s easy to see why they made this request. The problem? They were selfishly seeking their own lofty position and power in Christ’s glory. Jesus told them that their ambition was misplaced (Mark 10:38) and that “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (v. 43).
As we aim to do good and great things for Christ, may we seek His wisdom and direction—humbly serving others as He did so well (v. 45).