“Hey men. Ambition belongs in the home first. Don’t reserve all your ambition for “Out there.” That was one of my recent tweets. It was for me. I needed to hear it and I needed to see it written out.
Why is it so easy for me to come home and leave ambition at the door? I have a tendency to believe home is a place to simply exist. Exist with Jordan. Exist with Ransom. Home, is a place to “be.” Ambition has been delegated, rather unintentionally, to all things outside of the home. Anyone else?
Outside of the home I am very ambitious. I desire growth in other people, so I work hard to see that take place. I desire to see our church function in a healthy way, so my ambition comes out in preaching, study, discipleship, and writing. How about my hobby of running? Ambitious. I have to confess, ambition “Out there” seems natural. But, what the home?
Consider this. Before the Industrial Age the man primarily worked at home. For a majority of world history that is how things worked. Sons worked with fathers. Children learned about God, the Bible, life and work by walking at the side of Dad. Quite different from our era, the family unit as a whole was a family of production rather than a family of consumers. The father gave himself to his wife, his kids, the home.
Things started to change in the late 1700’s. The change progressed and had continued until today. Fathers left the home. When dad went from farm to factory ambition left the home. What used to be a place of work and cultivation of the family, now it was the place to simply “be.” See how that works?
Think about men and families the 20th century. First, there was World War 1. Men, went to war which forced the wives to take care of everything at home. The war ended and the men returned. Just a few years later the stock market crashed and in came the Great Depression. The war torn men did whatever they could to survive and provide. The wives were home, the men went to the city to find work. Just a few years after the Depression, the world was rocked by yet another world war. Again, men had to express all there ambition outside of the home.
Pastoral ministry was affected. Pastors in these eras were generally expected to neglect their families for the sake of the ministry. That would have never been verbalized, but there have been many a pastor fired for making to few “Member home visits.” The home of the members was more important than the home of the pastor. The pastor of the 20th century created a whole new category of child, the PK. Where was his ambition? Out there.
Fast forward a couple generations. Men, where is your ambition primary expressed? Is it inside or outside of the home? Do you spend more time building relationships “out there” or at home? How about in the area of mission? Do you see your mission as primarily “out there” or at home. Do you pursue your the heart of your wife and children as much as you pursue your hobbies? Are you more concerned with your reputation at work than you are with the reputation you have with your wife?
For the Christian man, ambition starts at home. Let’s work, build, cultivate, serve, and love at home first. I, for one, don’t want to be a man who’s ambition get’s praised by everyone but his family. How about you?