I read the first chapter of the book “Secrets of the Vine” this morning. Ok I must admit I was wrong about it. Perhaps because of my background when someone starts writing a book about abundance I see dollar signs. Ok I was wrong. This book doesn’t APPEAR to be about the prosperity Gospel. (I’m still from Missouri on this though!)
In the preface the author speaks of abundance and how badly God wants it for our lives. Then he makes a rather incredible statement:
“And you’ll be relieved to know you never need to misread his ways in your life again.”
Whoa! That’s a mouthful. Does the author really believe I can hear and see that clearly after reading his book? While this is certainly a lofty goal, you’ll have to excuse me if I seem a bit skeptical about it.
I have a Barnes and Nobel “Nook” (E-Book reader) and I purchased a bible study book to go along with the main book. It’s a 4 week course you can stretch to 8 weeks and it covers the main points of the book. I read the book and then went to the bible study. He asks a couple of really important questions right up front.
1. What do I believe about what my life should “produce” for God?
2. What have you accomplished in your life so far that might be eternally important from God’s point of view?
These are great starter questions. If the book helps me answer these questions accurately, then this is going to be one great class!
Because of my “Law Guy” background, I can give you a list a mile long on the first question. If I answered it honestly I would be say that my life should be somewhere between John the Baptist and Billy Graham. There would be no small number of people saved through my ministry and I would have a number of qualities that would draw people to Christ. Those qualities would be a great orator, a great writer (so I can write books like “Secrets of the Vine”), a great teacher (so I can teach about the great things I write about), a great theologian (so I can theorize about how God is pleased with the great things I write and speak about) and finally I would be a great preacher (so people can hear the great things I write and teach about on a weekly basis). So much for the first question.
Now on to the tough question. What have I actually done. In this case I feel I am somewhere between Ralph Cramden and Archie Bunker. Ralph is a rather common fellow with big ideas yet he can never actually pull them off. Archie Bunker is … well Archie Bunker.
For my life, bringing these two questions into some type of meaningful balance is the challenge. I am neither of the answers above. I am somewhere in between and I need to judge correctly how God sees my life. My honest hopes are this class will provide a framework for an honest evaluation.