Book Review: "Rescuing Ambition" by Dave Harvey

Some authors you read simply because of the author. I’ll read anything by J.C. Ryle; Charles Spurgeon, and Jerry Bridges because of their writing style, sound doctrine, and practical application. Dave Harvey seems to fit in that category too. I started reading his book Rescuing Ambition because I so enjoyed his other book, When Sinners Say “I Do. Though I wasn’t quite sure what the book would be about, I trusted that I’d find some good meat to chew on, no matter what its subject. I wasn’t disappointed—and you won’t be either when you dive into this book. Don’t be put off by the title if that word “ambition” scares you. Rescuing Ambition is a book about following Christ. It’s about entrusting the Lord with all your hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The “rescue” comes when we wait upon the Lord to bring those goals and hopes about rather than ramrodding them through ourselves. If you like praying about what you’re reading, being prodded to examine your heart, and encouraged to press on in your walk then you’ll enjoy this book. And then there’s the “I-can’t-see-the-page-because-I’m-laughing-so-hard” bonus of Dave Harvey himself whose stories usually pack a convicting wallop at the end. Rescuing Ambition is a pleasure to read that leads us to live lives pleasing to the Lord.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from one section of the book:

“To be alive is to have delayed ambitions.” Page 71

“Delaying the fulfillment of our dreams seems to be part of refining and rescuing ambition.” Page 71 

“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.” Page. 71

“Waiting is God’s backhoe in the excavation of our ambitions. Waiting unearths and brings to the surface what we really want.”

  • Waiting purifies our ambitions.
  • Waiting cultivates patience.
  • Waiting redefines our definition of productivity. 
    • God defines productivity differently. For God, productivity is wrapped up in transformation, in who we’re becoming, not in what we’re accomplishing. Pages 73-74 

“Waiting is often God’s reorientation program aimed at our definition of success. He lovingly empties our misguided preoccupation with accomplishment and fills it with ambitions to know Him and be like Him. God isn’t beyond slowing our walk to remind us that only He is omnipotent, and we’re not; only He is omnicompetent, and we’re not; only He exists without need for rest, and we don’t.” Page 74

“God loves us so much He’ll intentionally fence us in to keep us on His road. That can be hard, I know. It’s never easy to stare at a fence suddenly blocking the path we want to take. But God fences our road to keep us moving in His direction.” Page 78.

“We find no peace in life until we’re convinced our path is His way and our place is His choice. That’s so important it’s worth repeating: your place is His choice. Fences and all.” Page 79.