Redeeming the Time, Ambition and “the Last Option”

“Redeem The Time” inscribed on tower in Whitchurch
by Jonathan Billinger as part of Geograph project


All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

~ Gandalf, Character by JRR Tolkien

I have to admit, I’ve never see that film.  When I was a teen, I did read not only The Hobbit, but the entire trilogy of Lord of the Rings.  Frodo, like Bilbo before him, was a reluctant hero.  He wished that the events beginning to unfold would have occurred at another time.  Of course, none of us get to decide what times we are born and live in.  The question is whether or not we will have the ambition and courage to do what needs to be done.

“Ambition?” you ask?  Yes, ambition!


a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work

~ “ambition“, Oxford Dictionaries, (bolding mine)

Perhaps you have always been told that ambition is always bad, but as you can see it, like so many other things, depends upon the context.

HWA used to talk about inititiative and drive.  He talked about “stick-to-it-iveness”.  Combine those things, and what do you have?  Ambition!

… but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Mt 10:22b

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

~ 1Co 9:24-25

Seems to me that the Bible doesn’t speak against ambition.  Rather, it does have a lot to say about motivations.

But, you know, as I stated that some of the things HWA spoke of make up ambition, you cannot have ambition without drive.  You cannot have ambition without desire.  You have to want to change if you want to change.  You have to be determined to change.  You have to work to change.  If you just pay it all lip service, then nothing will ever change.

You have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired.
~ AA saying

Without motivation, either internal or external, there is no incentive for change.  The Book of Judges is about the lack of restraint that was ubiquitous in the ancient early days of the nation of Israel.  Things did not change for the better because very few wanted to change themselves.  Things did not change for the better because there was no one with the power to force change upon the people.  When they had enough, they finally wanted change, but unfortunately they wanted change imposed from without via setting up a king rather than change themselves and the circumstances within their control.

Yet, you and I don’t have a lot of control over things.  They only thing we have control of is how we will respond and how we will use the time given to us.

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

~ Ep 5:15-17

So, what does one do?  What can one do when there are no options left?

That was the question facing a young man in a very inspirational story, “The Last Option“.  He was told that a group home was the “best option” for him because of his combined Asperger’s and ADHD.  It finally hit him what people had meant by “I will never function in society or live a successful life”.  He finally rejected that “best option” and went for “the Last Option”.

So what is this Last Option? The Last Option is the option you make after you are told you are out of options. You are never truly out of options, because the Last Option is simply creating new options for yourself. The true power behind creating your own options is figuring out that your options only disappear if you let them.

So, instead of concentrating upon what he couldn’t do, he decided to concentrate upon what he could do.  By rejecting one option, he opened the door to many other options.

However, it still took ambition.  He had to set a goal and go for it.

…Now, when someone says something like that to me, it ceases to be an insult and becomes a challenge. I’m a competitive guy, so the prospect of a challenge excites me. I took that challenge and transformed my life into one on a fast track to success.

He still had to have the desire to change.  He had to have the initiative to make that change.  He had to have the drive to continue that change.

He had to redeem the time.

Most people will not do that.  Seriously.  It’s too hard to do the right thing, and it’s even harder to do the best thing. Most will not look for other options.

Spiritually, this leads to error and to death.  The desire to change for the better is the push behind repentance.  It is what differentiates being sorry for true repentance.  It is why the TV evangelist’s version of repentance is such a sham.

Spiritually, there is a Last Option.  However, most will not discover it in this lifetime.  Instead, they might look anywhere but towards the Tree of Life.  For most, it truly is the Last Option, only seriously viewed when all else has been tried and failed.

Yet, the Last Option is the best option, in spite of what others say.  What others peddle as the “best option” is a counterfeit designed only for those who do not care enough to make the necessary changes.  Instead of growth, it at best leads to stagnation.  It does not lead to a fulfilled life.

Speaking of fulfilled, I hope you will read Hayden’s article.  Ambition is only wrong when it is selfish ambition, yet he makes it clear that finally he “realized how much I have to give this world, and I realized that I am an agent of service, not an agent of sloth.”

Certainly, there are people with far less severe disabilities that need to come to a realization of this scale.  We all must inventory the skills and abilities that God has given us to use, not just for ourselves, but to give back to the society we belong to, inclusive of country, community, congregation and family.


  1. His story has stuck with me and given me a lot to think about over the last few days. I hope that it is something I remember and internalize along with the scriptures that support making choices that go above and beyond what may seem like the only logical choice I may have at any given time.

    • @Sherrie: Obviously, I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind either, and there are far more applications I could have gotten out of his story. In particular, he is an overcomer. I thank you, Sherrie, as well, as it was your pointer that led me to the article.

  2. It seems we are both inspired by this young man 🙂