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people of praise

On ambition, follow Jesus’ model


I recently watched a biography about Henry Ford on PBS’ “The American Experience.” Ford possessed an intense drive and motivation to revolutionize our world through the automobile. It seems he would stop at nothing short of accomplishing his dream.

Today, most of us think nothing of jumping into our assembly line-produced vehicle to commute anywhere, from a trip to a local diner to a journey to the West Coast. Few could argue that Ford’s dream has become a reality.

Henry Ford may have accomplished his dream, but at what cost? As a result of his blind ambition, Ford tended to neglect his relationships. The most obvious example of this was his relationship with his son, Edsel.

Although brilliant in his own right, Edsel was different from his father. Henry had little tolerance for what he considered a lazy and overly indulgent son. Although Edsel officially ran the company for 24 years, his father rarely allowed him to make important decisions. Even when Edsel would achieve significant accomplishments, Henry would often take the credit.

Edsel died at age 49 of cancerous and inoperable stomach ulcers. Sadly, the strained and complicated relationship with his father may well have contributed to Edsel’s early death.

Even as Edsel lay on his death bed, Henry refused to acknowledge the seriousness of his son’s condition, blaming it on “Edsel’s high flying lifestyle.” Henry was never the same after his son’s death. He died four short years later.

As we enter the Lenten season, we are reminded that our Lord Jesus was also a man of intense drive and ambition. Luke 9:51 tells us that “as the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” He was a man on a mission. He knew that in Jerusalem waited the cross, where he would give up his body and shed his blood for the sins of the world. Nothing would stop him short of Jerusalem.

In spite of his mission, Jesus never neglected those around him. He always had time to minister in the here and now. We see two obvious examples of this.

In Luke 10:38-42, we find Jesus in the home of Mary and Martha, allowing Mary to sit at his feet as he taught and encouraged her in her faith. Later, as he passed through Jericho (Luke 19:1-10), Jesus noticed a little man in a sycamore tree. He called Zacchaeus by name and even invited himself to the tax collector’s house for dinner.

The challenge for us is that we not get so focused on our dreams that we neglect the gift of those around us. Whether we are climbing the corporate ladder, pursuing a passionate hobby, or even doing the work of the ministry, there are divine appointments all around us. If we take time for our families and get to know and care for our neighbors, we can live a life of few regrets while still achieving our dreams.

Tim Scroggs is the lead pastor at Eagle Quest Church in Columbia City. If you are interested in submitting a column (750 words or less), send it to Terri Richardson, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email Include your name, religious organization and a phone number where you can be reached. For more information, call 461-8304.