We make heroes out of people who are ambitious. We hold them up as models for our kids and put their pictures on the covers of our magazines.

And rightly so. This world would be in sad shape without people who dream of touching the heavens. Ambition is that grit in the soul which creates disenchantment with the ordinary and puts the dare into dreams.

But left unchecked it becomes an insatiable addiction to power and prestige; a roaring hunger for achievement that devours people as a lion devours an animal, leaving behind only the skeletal remains of relationships.

The classic examples of nearsighted tower builders come to mind quickly. You'll recognize them, perhaps too well.

The husband who feeds his career with twelve-hour days, flight schedules, and apologies for being gone so much. "But it's just a matter of time, and I'll get my feet on the ground."

The social-conscious mother of three who never misses a chance to serve on a committee or attend a luncheon. "It's all for a good cause," she fools herself.

"I'll only need to do it this once," justifies the salesman as he lies about his product. Anything to get to the top of the tower.

Blind ambition. Distorted values.

The result? Rootless lives bouncing like tumbleweeds through ghost towns. Abandoned dreams. Crumbling homes. Windswept futures. All with one thing in common: a half-finished tower that stands as a stirring epitaph to those who follow.

God won't tolerate it. He didn't then and he won't now. He took the "Climb to Heaven Campaign" into his hands. With one sweep he painted the tower gray with confusion and sent workers babbling in all directions. He took man's greatest achievement and blew it into the winds like a child blows a dandelion.

Are you building any towers? Examine your motives. And remember the statement imprinted on the base of the windswept Tower of Babel: Blind ambition is a giant step away from God and one step closer to catastrophe.

From God Came Near; Copyright 1996 Max Lucado.