IMG_3567-300x225.jpgOnce we hit July, this year’s summer schedule was fairly open for us, and as such we decided to go camping. True diehards that participate in this activity would be sure to say that we actually went glamping, being that we use our truck to pull a Fifth Wheel in which we sleep, cook, and even engage in electronic entertainment in the evenings. OK – you’ve got us. But we still did book ourselves into a somewhat rustic campground for a week in southwest Colorado to take in the sights, connect with nature, and relax and enjoy the creative and varied world God has given us.
One of the things we did on the first morning of our arrival was to hike around the lake adjacent to the campground. Lest you are led to believe it was a huge effort, this lake was really just a large pond, but it still leant us thirty minutes plus of exercise and interesting flora surrounding the lake to examine. As we got to the path, I noticed the beautiful puffy white clouds overhead. I was enjoying the billowy shapes, in particular one towering directly in front of me. In the next moment, I observed something right in front of the cloud. I had to adjust my focus to discern exactly what it was, but I realized it was a bit of some kind of white fluff floating lazily by. I looked around to see if there were any plants that were growing something of that nature that would have blown into the air, but saw nothing else like it. I immediately had a crazy thought: “That’s a wannabe!” At least that’s what it looked like to me, that little old fluff competing with the grandeur of the huge puff in the sky.
It got me thinking about how we can be like that small fuzz drifting in the air. We strive to imitate something we view as impressive and put our effort and energy into possibly something we’re never meant to be. It may be that God has a different goal in mind for us, but we’re too busy looking way off into the clouds, and we miss the opportunities he is placing right before us.
It is important to recognize that there is nothing wrong with dreaming big dreams and reaching for what may be lofty goals. But, so often our eyes are on the wrong prize. If we truly search within and find that we are driven by the desire for a loaded pocketbook, recognition, some sort of power, or another worldly or temporal ambition, we will likely realize that we are definitely not on the path that the Lord would desire for us to follow. To put it in the words of The Preacher, the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14, ESV).
A good biblical example to consider is found in the Book of Acts. Philip, a man chosen as one of seven who helped the apostles in ministry, was serving in Samaria. A man who practiced magic arts named Simon, had fooled many people with his enchantments, and they acclaimed him as great. As these same people witnessed the genuine power and godly work that Philip was doing there, they believed in Jesus, received his good news, and were baptized. Simon took note of the miraculous works, and the Bible says, “Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed” (Acts 8:13, ESV).
The apostles Peter and John were sent to Samaria from Jerusalem upon hearing about the new believers there. The Holy Spirit had not yet come to these recent converts, so Peter and John laid hands on them, and they did receive the Holy Spirit. It is at this point that Simon displayed the heart of a wannabe. He actually had such a desire to perform this same miraculous work that he offered to pay the apostles to be granted the same gift. This repugnant longing was quickly rebuked by Peter who said, “‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:20b-22, ESV).
IMG_3628-e1691892251960-300x193.pngSimon did request prayer, but it is not clear if he had a sincere change of heart that led him to trade his covetous attitude and his longing to be someone great in the eyes of the people for a true heart of a servant. While we may not have a Peter figure in our lives to tell us when we are puffing up beyond God’s call, it is my hope that each of us can take a good look inside and ask for the Lord’s position on the state of our ambitions. Whether they appear great or small, may they be in line with what God is desiring for each of us. Steer clear of being a wannabe, and glide on the wind of the Holy Spirit for his good purpose and glory.
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