Review: Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey

Life of a Steward rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Convicting, clarifying, and inspiring: a must-read for Christians who want to make their lives matter in a God-honoring way.

Rescuing Ambition

Ambition.

I’m sure just reading that word conjures up a host of mental images – all of them negative. Power-hungry politicians. Workaholic executives climbing the corporate ladder no matter who gets hurt in the process.

Yet within each of us is the desire to do something with our life that truly matters. This doesn’t seem like it should be a bad thing (is it?) – but we just don’t feel comfortable with this yearning.

Dave Harvey addresses and corrects this awkward confusion in Rescuing Ambition. He places our quest for glory in a biblical context – showing the sinfulness of ambition that seeks our glory and the righteousness of ambition that seeks God’s glory.

Book Summary

Harvey starts by building a biblical understanding of ambition – defining it, showing how sin corrupts it, and how Christ can redeem it. Our idea of godly ambition is then refined by aligning it with humility and contentment – ideas that most find incompatible with ambition.

The drive of ambition is shown to be a tool to mold us into the image of Christ – as we deal with delays and failures, take risks, and trust God through it all. Ambition is meant to build up the church and the next generation to the ultimate glory of God.

My Thoughts

I never thought to myself, “Gee, I wish there was a book on a Christian perspective of ambition.” It may seem like a random topic. But all I had to do was read this book’s description and I was sold.

Our ambition does need to be rescued: rescued from our selfish desires to glorify ourselves – but also rescued from our own misguided beliefs about ambition. In our culture, passivity has been turned into a virtue. We believe that humility and meekness are about minimal activity and a slow, tranquil life.

I wonder how many more lives would be changed and how the world would be set on fire for God if our ambition was indeed rescued.

Rescuing Ambition is heavily infused with scripture and drips with the gospel message. I had heard many of the concepts before (some I hadn’t), but Harvey did a particularly good job of bringing it all together into one cohesive view. Everything flowed together, and I felt that no appropriate stone was left unturned.

Harvey’s self-deprecating humor and clear writing style make Rescuing Ambition a pleasure to read, while his insights keep you turning the pages.

I appreciated how Harvey viewed ambition not just as a way to inspire us to “do things for God” but also as a tool He combines with failure and disappointment in order to sanctify us. And after rousing your ambition to glorify God, Harvey biblically channels that ambition to a focus on the church and the generations to come.

Studying ambition naturally causes you to look inward and examine your own motives. Needless to say this was convicting for me, and I suspect a regular refresher course might be a good way to battle with selfish pursuits.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. However, this doesn’t affect what I write about, what I choose to say, or what I recommend. Learn more here.