WHAT'S YOUR GOSPEL MENTALITY?
I had the honor of spending time with Bruce Wilkerson, author of the best-selling book, The Prayer of Jabez. He was in town to discuss key principles outlined in one of his most insightful and heart-convicting books, A Life God Rewards.
I was one of the first guests to arrive for the luncheon. I wanted to meet Wilkerson in person and have him sign several books that I brought with me. As he was personalizing my first book, I didn’t know what to say, so I blurted out, “Mr. Wilkerson, I have all of your books.” He chuckled, lifted up his head, and replied, “Reallllllllly? I’ve written over sixty books.”
“Oops—you got me. I own about a dozen of your books,” I said.
The Prayer of Jabez, Wilkerson’s most popular (and perhaps most controversial) book, is one that I find myself reading usually once per year, especially when I need to reexamine my life’s calling, redirect my focus, and remove barriers that can impede the flow of God’s blessings in my life.
The more blessed we are financially (or nutritionally or profes- sionally or maritally), the more of a blessing we can be to a hurting world in desperate need of a helping hand.
Here’s the stewardship mandate for living a blessed life financially. First, nothing truly belongs to us. Settle the issue of Lordship in your heart if you haven’t already. Second, God pours in the blessings; we cannot take credit for this process nor the benefits that come through a blessed life. Third, we pour out God’s blessings as the Holy Spirit directs us. For those of us who are engrafted branches, all Gentile converts, we share in the same nourishing sap of abundance that Jabez enjoyed (see Romans 11:17).
Here is Jabez’s prayer for an abundant life:
“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:10).
Three distinct mentalities permeate the landscape of Americanized Christianity and entrenched denominational viewpoints on the subject of blessings from a historical, cultural, and spiritual perspective: the poverty-Gospel mentality, the prosperity-Gospel mentality, and the posterity-Gospel mentality. And these three belief systems likely underscore the initial controversy that surrounded (and still blanket) The Prayer of Jabez.