Theology book #4 – Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey

Ambition is a word tainted with negative perceptions. Someone who is ambitious is often perceived as caring only about what he or she is ambitious for. If someone is ambitious in their career, then their family might suffer.  On the other hand if someone has no life ambitions then we say that they are lazy and are not trying to accomplish anything in their life. How can we have it both ways?

In the church ambition is often seen as a negative thing because of the way people have been ambitious in the past. When most people are ambitious there main goal is for themselves to rise up, become popular, lead a group, or get recognition. Unfortunately that is the common ambition because we are all sinners.

Dave Harvey sums it up perfectly when he says, “God doesn’t oppose glory-seeking; he commends it. And what’s more astounding, he rewards it with eternal life. But there’s a condition. We must seek a certain type of glory. We’re to hunger, crave, earnestly desire–to be ambitious for–the glory that comes from God.”

Ambition needs to come back to the church, not for our gain, but for His. We need to be seeking glory for our Father in heaven, no matter if we get even so much as a nod of the head in our direction.

I want to leave you all with a few more quotes from the book and if you are struggling to be ambitious for God, then check this book out.

“Think about what you value. Maybe you can rattle off your priorities like a shopping list—God, marriage, family, work, peace—these often top the charts. But do they actually define how you live? Or are there some bottom-dweller items on the list that actually get headliner attention?”

“We’ll never be ambitious for what we don’t value. We must perceive God’s glory as infinitely more precious than the crown jewels.”

“If you perceive exercise as good, you’ll admire people who do it. If you prize exercise, you’ll rise to do it yourself.”

“Fans live vicariously; players live experientially. Same game, world of difference. Christians are not fans.”

“How we live when ambitions are delayed significantly shapes who we become. God uses the wait to teach us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling.”

Harvey, Dave (2010-05-04). Rescuing Ambition. Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.

Next up in my theology book list is “Speaking of Jesus: How to Tell Your Friends the Best News They Will Ever Hear” by Mack Stiles

The gospel really is the best news anyone will ever receive. So why do Christians shy away from talking about Jesus outside of church? And, when they do speak of Jesus, why do they often get a disinterested or scornful reponse?

Mack Stiles offers a wealth of answers, ideas and stories in this heads-up, hands-on evangelism handbook. His creative strategies for reaching an ethnically, culturally, economically, educationally, geographically and ideologically diverse world with the best news ever are drawn directly from his own work as an evangelist in today’s student world. In Speaking of Jesus he shows readers how to keep their eyes open for “divine appointments,” how to approach others with a servant spirit, how to cross relational barriers, how to simply tell one’s own story of faith, and how to answer questions with honesty and confidence.

Speaking of Jesus may well be an Out of the Saltshaker for the 1990s and beyond. With contagious enthusiasm, Stiles stresses that evangelism isn’t about exhibiting superhuman courage or perfecting specialized techniques or exercising extraordinary gifts. Instead, he shows that people of faith can use everyday situations and everyday language to pass on the simple–and simply wonderful–news about Jesus.

Checking my motives at the door

I’m reading this book called Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey and while I am not done with it yet, I can highly recommend it. When I am done with the book I will discuss it a little bit more, but today I wanted to share with you about motives. Dave Harvey talks about ambition as being a good and Godly thing if the motives are right. This thought has been hitting me a lot recently.

Why do I write this blog? Why do I want to get in better shape? Why am I going to Germany as a missionary with Greater Europe Mission? Why do I do anything that I am doing? If my answer ever starts with the word I, I’m doing something wrong.

In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” If I am supposed to be eating and drinking for the glory of God, then how much more should I be blogging, exercising, and living all aspects of my life for the glory of God?

I’m going to be honest though, a good chunk of the time, my motives aren’t the right ones, I’m not ambitious for God’s glory, I am ambitious for my glory.

Why did I start this blog? The biggest reason was to share with people about my call to ministry, but I check the stats to see how many visitors I am getting and I try to increase those numbers. Pretty sure that has nothing to do with God’s glory.

Why do I want to get in better shape? That one is mostly for selfish reasons too. I was actually struggling to figure out Godly motives in this specific case until yesterday. My mom and I are in a personal record 5k running group with Dave’s Running shop and yesterday was speed training. After we were done we had the privilege of listening to Brandon Bethke, an Olympian hopeful who is also a follower of Christ. He talked about how he gets through the tough training times because he remembers that this gift he has (running ridiculously fast) is from God and Brandon wants to use it for His glory, not his glory.

His short talk reminded me that my motives are sometimes off and if I want anything to be successful then I need to check my motives at the door and start living all aspects of my life for Christ and through the Holy Spirit have my motives become His motives for His glory.