Friday, October 29, 2010

Seeking Glory: A Biblical View of Ambition

As a child, I remember spending many a late afternoon playing by myself on my family’s basketball hoop. The clock was always ticking down the last seconds of the championship game with my team behind by one point. The ball was in my hand and I had the opportunity to take the last shot. This scene repeated itself whether I was dreaming about baseball, tennis, or being the President of the United States. There is something in all boys, or at least in me, that craves situations where one has the chance to make a difference. At a base level, we are all glory seekers.

Later, when I grew in my Christian faith, I developed an uneasy relationship with ambition. Jesus’ teachings often seem to go against our tendency to be ambitious. Yet, our glory seeking desires many times are the fuel for accomplishing kingdom-minded activities. It’s easy to see that most leaders of the evangelical world have ambitious personalities.

If you’re like me and have wrestled with the fine line between humble service and glory seeking, Dave Harvey has written Rescuing Ambition, an excellent book that I highly recommend. In it, he makes the argument that ambition is something hard-wired into humanity by God. We do God a disservice when we let the guise of humility hijack God-given dreams and desires. But we need to be wary of the human tendency to curve ambition in on the self instead of towards God and others.

Harvey has written a one-of-a-kind book that creatively explores a topic that has been sorely unexamined by evangelical thinkers. It’s my hope that this book will lay the foundation for a rich understanding of ambition which will benefit the next generation of evangelical leaders.

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