Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Sermon on the Mount: Radical Ambition

I have always admired people who were cool under pressure. Years ago, I read a story about Joe Montana, the great quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers during their glory years. In one Super Bowl, the team was losing with little time left on the clock. They had to drive the ball the length of the field to take the lead. As Montana looked into the faces of his teammates in the huddle, he could see the apprehension, the anxiety. Then he looked over their shoulders and said, "Hey. Look at that fat guy in the stands. Isn't that John Candy?" The team all turned and looked for the comedian. Whether it was him or not, it made them all laugh. It released the tension. And they scored the winning touchdown.

I have learned one thing about overcoming worry and fear: You can't do it by sheer willpower. Simply saying, "I'm not going to be afraid," won't cut it. Jesus addressed worry and fear--and how to have satisfaction and joy--in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 6:25-34. As I read those words, He seems to be saying that our ambition is the key: What is most important to us? This Sunday (Lord willing), we'll take a closer look at those words of wisdom.

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