"If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
-David Livingstone

December 29, 2010

Living By God's Math

I just finished reading the little book The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson which someone gave me recently (after hearing that I named our baby Jabez they thought it vital that I should read the book.) This part of it really stood out to me. It’s speaking about the phrase in his prayer, “…and enlarge my coast…” Seeing the first equation below, I realized how much I tend to think that way. I mean it makes sense. All of that should limit me or at least influence what I do in life, right? Or maybe not.

“Whatever our gifts, education, or vocation might be, our calling is to do God’s work on earth. If you want, you can call it living out your faith for others. You can call it ministry. You can call it every Christian’s day job. But whatever you call it, God is looking for people who want to do more of it, because sadly, most believers seem to shrink from living at this level of blessing and influence.
For most of us, our reluctance comes from getting our numbers right, but our arithmetic completely wrong. For example, when we’re deciding what size territory God has in mind for us, we keep an equation in our heart that adds up to something like this:

My abilities + experience + training + my personality and appearance + my past + the expectations of others = my assigned territory.

No matter how many sermons we’ve heard about God’s power to work through us, we simply gloss over the meaning of that one little work through. Sure, we say we want God to work through us, but what we really mean is by or in association with. Yet God’s reminder to us is the same one He gave the Jews when they returned from captivity to a decimated homeland: “Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
Our God specializes in working through normal people who believe in a supernormal God who will do His work through them. What He’s waiting for is the invitation. That means God’s math would look more like this:

My willingness and weakness + God’s will and supernatural power = my expanding territory.”

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” 1 Chronicles 4:10

“As God’s chosen, blessed sons and daughters, we are expected to attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed…unless God steps in. …For the Christian, dependance is just another word for power.” Bruce Wilkinson

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