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Becoming Ambitious for Christ

The world demands that we be ambitious if we want to be successful, but what would happen if we focused our ambitions on Christ?

When American academic William S. Clark went to Japan in 1874, he left his students with a rousing speech. The most famous part of that speech is the line, “Boys, be ambitious!” He offered another directive, however, that goes forgotten today: “Be ambitious for Christ.” Although his life was full of professional and academic accomplishments, William S. Clark was first and foremost a follower of Christ.

Statue of a man pointing. Quote says "We are ambitious for Christ when we serve faithfully, accept humbly, endure nobly, pray fervently, and partake worthily." --Kazuhiko Yamashita

Photo by Alessandro Grusso

In a world where success is measured by effort and passion, we have an opportunity to channel that energy toward our Savior and his work. But sometimes we struggle to know how we can live a Christ-centered life. In his general conference address “Be Ambitious for Christ,” Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita explains that we are “ambitious for Christ when we serve faithfully, accept humbly, endure nobly, pray fervently, and partake worthily.” Living a life that is ambitious for Christ means following him with greater enthusiasm and intention. The beauty of the gospel is that our dedication is measured by effort, not perfection. When we strive to make Christ the center of our lives, we shine with his light.

William S. Clark is immortalized in a bronze statue that sits above Sapporo, the largest city on Hokkaido, one of Japan’s islands. The inscription “BOYS BE AMBITIOUS” reminds visitors to push themselves to their utmost capacity. As disciples of Christ, this directive reminds us to prioritize his work above all else. Worldly ambition leads us to worldly rewards, but Christ-centered ambition leads us to the joy of the covenant path.

Read the full address from Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita here.

Source: General Conference

—Caleb Williams, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights

Learn about finding awe in Christ and his gospel from Elder Ulisses Soares in his general conference address “In Awe of Christ and His Gospel.”

Read Alma’s teachings on leading a Christ-centered life in the Book of Mormon.

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