A Holy Desire to Aspire


In the pantheon of Christian greats, one will find Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, but it’s doubtful that any bust of Christopher Columbus will adorn the hall.

Yet a quick read of Columbus’s journals reveals a highly devout man who genuinely wanted to reach the lost on the far side of the world with the message of Christ. The history books continue to sully the explorer’s name or finagle his importance, but after reading the words from his own hand, I have a much higher view of the man.

What truly grips me about long-dead Christian men like Columbus is that something in them burned. They had a vision, a dream that held them. They saw Christ high and lifted up and that revelation enthralled them, captivating their vision and capturing their hearts.

When we read biographies of great people of long ago, more often than not they had an encounter with Jesus that changed their direction and gave them new direction. In many cases, that pursuit was science. Scratch a well-known scientist from long ago and catch the aroma of Christ. These men aspired to something beyond the boundaries of what was known and explored because they knew Jesus.

God, how we need Christian men who aspire to something more than owning the latest muscle car or climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. Where are the Christian men out there who dream big dreams and won’t take no for an answer?

And I’m not just talking about ministry. That’s the ghetto we’ve fallen into. No one considers Columbus an evangelist. Dreamers minister to us today because they stand for the godly desire never to settle, never to make do. These men possessed a keen eye for what lies beyond, a godly desire to know, no matter what that aspiration might be.

So how is it that so few of us reach beyond our grasp? How can it be that Christians today are content to make do with okay? At what point did we make peace with the world of Harrison Bergeron?

There’s more than a whiff of sulfurous stench around “Well, this looks like a nice place to relax,” isn’t there?

To what purpose did God redeem us? Better yet, to what purpose did He make Man at all if not that we should do great things and honor Him in their doing?

I get sick of all the small vision. I’m fed up with can’t. I wish there were some way to rid can’t, but, won’t, and never from the Christian lexicon. We’ll do anything possible to protect our kids from filth, but who out there is protecting our kids from having their every aspiration hammered to pieces by naysayers, most of those hammerers from within the four walls of your church and mine? Who out there is punishing the millstoners, who see an aspiration and rush in to weigh it down with a slab of granite?

Dear God, send us men and women who take your upward call seriously. who stop their ears against the siren call of mediocrity! Raise up an army of people who look in faith only to you and not to the left or two the right, people with vision inspired by your Holy Spirit. Unleash them, Lord Jesus. We need them more than ever in these difficult times. Amen.

5 thoughts on “A Holy Desire to Aspire

  1. Trevor

    I’m all in favour of aspiring to greatness, but I’d chose a hero other than Columbus. To quote from his wikipedia article:

    Columbus and his men instituted a policy in Hispaniola which has been referred to by numerous historians as genocide. The native Taino people of the island were systematically enslaved and murdered. Hundreds were rounded up and shipped to Europe to be sold; many died en route. For the rest of the population, Columbus demanded that all Taino under his control should bring the Spaniards gold. Those that didn’t were to have their hands cut off. Since there was, in fact, little gold to be had, the Taino fled, and the Spaniards hunted them down and killed them. The Taino tried to mount a resistance, but the Spanish weaponry was superior, and European diseases ravaged their population. In despair, the Taino engaged in mass suicide, even killing their own children to save them from the Spaniards. Within two years, half of what may have been 250,000 Taino were dead.

    I don’t think that can be described as the actions of a ‘highly devout man’. A covetous, murderous psychopath perhaps.

  2. Ken

    God, how we need Christian men who aspire to something more than owning the latest muscle car or climbing to the top of the corporate ladder.

    Cerulean, even THAT would be an improvement on sitting on their ass with End Time Prophecy charts all marked up (“Twinkle Twinkle Coming Christ/Beam Me Up To Paradise”) or going to Lakeland so Todd can kick them in the nuts (“Yoing! Yoing! Yoing! BAM!”).

    P.S. If I was paying high five figures for a ride that gets 12 mpg, it wouldn’t be “the latest muscle car” or blinged-out SUV. It would be a fully-restored, mildly-hotrodded Sixties Muscle/Pony car.

    To what purpose did God redeem us? Better yet, to what purpose did He make Man at all if not that we should do great things and honor Him in their doing?

    To get beamed up to Fluffy Cloud Heaven, of course. (Aside — whatever happened to Resurrection of the Body in a New Cosmos? Wasn’t THAT supposed to be the Christian afterlife? At least Islam lets you party hearty in Paradise…)

    I get sick of all the small vision.

    You see it everywhere — in Young Earth Creationism, in The End Is Near, in Man Was Not Meant to Know, in Just Like fill-in-the-blank, Except CHRISTIAN (TM)! Christians like to think small. Christians want to live in their cozy little Punyverse (all four walls papered with Bible quotes) instead of the real grand Universe. (Never mind that the Incarnation makes Christianity able to handle any size of Cosmos — and even bigger God — without losing the human scale.) Cozy and comfortable, just like the humans on the ship in WALL-E.

    I’m a 30+ year SF litfan, who’s actually starting to write the stuff and get published. Back in the Seventies, I was mixed up with an aberrant splinter church and introduced (“Resistance is futile! Prepare to be assimilated!”) to Approved CBA Christian SF, and found it incredibly lame. After the likes of Poul Anderson and Cordwainer Smith, the Approved Christian SF was best described as “Thinking Small”. Very small. If SF is the literature of ideas, Christian (TM) SF was the literature of small, safe, orthodox ideas.

    • Ken,

      Well, I’m not sure how to respond to all that, but I’ll take on the last part.

      Anything new starts off small. Christian spec fic is still in its infancy. Look at the early efforts in secular sf and fantasy and none of them would sell today if new to the market because they thought small. Thing is, today’s “small” was yesterday’s “gigantic.” Jules Verne would today be considered sf for beginners, yet he was a giant of his era.

      Same goes for Christian spec fic. It IS getting better.

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