Dave Harvey made me think about ambition and the Kingdom of God. In his book, Rescuing Ambition, he shows a biblical approach to aspiring to do great things for God.
Many think of ambition as nothing more than the drive for personal honor or fame. As a result, ambition—the God-implanted drive to improve, produce, develop, and create—is neglected and well on its way to paralysis.
For some, dreams are numbed. For others, there are no dreams; life just happens. And for those who are dreaming, motives are often confused. One thing is certain: ambition needs help.
Dave Harvey is calling for a rescue. He wants to snatch ambition from the heap of failed motivations and put it to work for the glory of God. To understand our ambition, we must understand that we are on a quest for glory. And where we find glory determines the success of our quest.
Has your God-given ambition been starved and sedated for too long? Are you ambitious? It’s time to reach further and dream bigger for the glory of God.
The book was a good read. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
- “What comes to your mind when you think of ambition? Do you see it as something occupying the interest of God?” (12).
- “True humility doesn’t kill our dreams; it provides a guardrail for them” (14).
- “Grace ignited godly ambition. Ambivalence was replaced with aspiration” (25).
- “We consciously pursue what we value” (27).
- “Your pursuits – whatever they may be – reveal what you prize” (31).
- “Rather than promoting God’s order and glory, we become relentless self-promoters…We grow small trying to be great” (37).
- “Our search for approval is over. In Christ, we already have all the approval we need. I no longer live for approval; I live from approval” (56).
- “Impatience deletes God’s schedule and replaces it with our own. It perverts ambition into demands” (72).
- “A good ambition becomes a selfish ambition when it’s our only ambition. It’s called idolatry” (75).
- “If our understanding of doctrine creates passivity toward God’s empowering presence or cools the hot embers or our ambition, we’ve misunderstood God’s sovereignty” (85).
- “People seek their fulfillment in the things they acquire or earn. Jesus shared in the glory of God, and he gave that up” (102).
- “Contentment comes as we satisfy the fierce ambition to move higher by reaching lower” (134).
- “Large ambitions open the door to bigger disasters” (140).
- “Sometimes we confuse our goals with God’s will” (148).
- “The individual Christian simply cannot understand his ambition in purely individual terms” (157).
- “What is the Spirit-constrained ambition that God wants us to indulge for his glory right where we are?” (183).
- “God loves us too much to allow us to settle for self” (199).
- “The church shouldn’t merely accommodate our ministry; it should help define it according to the present needs of the church” (201).
- “A true test of gospel application is seen in succession – in the health of what we leave behind” (205).
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.