Satisfied Ambition

As I approached the door, I didn’t realize that Vern was at my feet. And when the door opened, Vern made his way down the steps into the yard. Given I was still on crutches, there was no way to chase after him, so I had to take a different approach.

I stayed as calm as I could as I went through the garage trying to find a treat that might entice him. But there wasn’t any type of food in the outside refrigerator he would enjoy. So I hobbled up the back stairs, almost tripping as I went. Finally, I made it inside and found some sandwich meat to persuade him to come into the house.

After retrieving the sandwich meat, I called to Vern with the only word I believed would convince him to enter into the screened in porch. “Treat” And sure enough as I held the meat towards the opened door, he trotted through the opening and snatched the meat off the floor.

As I was watching Vern walk outside and look around, I wondered if he even knew why he wanted to escape the safety of his home. What was out there in the world that he fought to get to? Would he be content with the fact that he had obtained his goal?

James Buchannan Duke was a determined man. Ever since he was a little boy in the 1860’s, he was preoccupied with becoming successful. When his father started selling tobacco, he became obsessed with the business. He surrounded himself with driven men and pushed forward until he literally made a fortune.

Towards the end of his life, James Buchannan formed a forty million dollar foundation for the building of Duke University and to the support of other colleges in which he held in high esteem. When signing the documents, he was asked whether luxury wouldn’t spoil people. His response was shocking to say the least. He stated, “There will be no luxury. Nothing makes people so unhappy as luxury. Satisfied ambition is an awful thing.”

Did I hear that correctly? James Buchannan had everything he had ever wanted and he writes that it only made him unhappy. And then to finish his statement by saying satisfied ambition is an awful thing. How many of us believe that if we can only obtain our goals and get to the place we dream about, we will be happy?

Paul writes to the Romans regarding life in the flesh. In Romans 8:6 he states, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

How often have you thought happiness and peace comes with the accomplishments of worldly goals? I know I have fallen victim to stretching my resources to obtain a dream that came up short.

As for Vern, he came inside and made his way onto the couch where a peace settled in. And instead of meeting death by car, he is now content living within the confines of his master’s home.

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