Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

"Jabez" Author Urges: Dream Big

  • Randall Murphree AgapePress
  • 2004 17 Jan
"Jabez" Author Urges:  Dream Big

Bruce Wilkinson has made big splashes in contemporary Christian culture in a number of ways. His name, long known in Christian circles, became a household word in 2000 with his little book "The Prayer of Jabez." The Multnomah title focused on the use of prayer to "expand our borders." The book certainly expanded Wilkinson's own circle of influence in the community of believers.

More recently, in September 2002, Wilkinson moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, a move that quite literally expands his influence in vast new ways. He is partnering with World Outreach to evangelize, to work for racial reconciliation and to do battle against HIV/AIDS.

His latest Multnomah title is "The Dream Giver." "I have yet to find a person who didn't have a dream," he writes. "... your Big Dream has been woven into your being from birth. You're the only person with a Dream quite like yours."

The small volume (157 pages) is divided into two sections. First, there is the "Parable of the Dream Giver" in which Wilkinson crafts an allegory reminiscent of John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress" (1678). Wilkinson tells the story of Ordinary, a Nobody who dares to leave the Land of Familiar in an attempt to realize his Big Dream.

In the allegory, Ordinary runs into various obstacles with which we can all identify — friends who scoff at our dream, fear of the unknown, family who want us to stay with them in the Land of Familiar. In the end, however, Ordinary writes to his father, "I discovered that every Nobody has a Dream, and it's never too late to pursue it."
That principle — it's never too late to pursue a God-given dream — sums up Wilkinson's main point.

In the second part of the book, he switches to a no-nonsense and practical approach to help us pursue our own dreams. Wilkinson says we must abandon the practice of the idle daydreamer who only sits and dreams; he's advocating a dream that demands action, risk and adventure.

Citing Moses and Joshua as Old Testament big dreamers, Wilkinson uses them and the story of Israel's Exodus from Egyptian slavery to the Promised Land to illustrate the principles he identifies. He says the story of Exodus reveals a pattern that is repeated many times in the Bible. God's people who dreamed big dreams almost always went through these stages — awareness of a dream, fear, opposition, difficulty, surrender, battle and realization of potential.

"Like Ordinary," Wilkinson writes, "I can count as many scars as successes on the journey to my Dream. The way of the Dreamer is difficult — but anything less is hardly living at all!"

Wilkinson is big on the idea that everyone has a dream. "[E]ven those who think Dreams only happen to someone else carry a Dream hidden deep in their hearts," he writes. He gives wise counsel on dealing with any number of problems we might anticipate, e.g. how to break out of our comfort zone or how to break through the wall of fear. He candidly confesses his own fears and uses his experience to encourage the reader to tackle all sorts of obstacles.

Making life changes to pursue our big dream is risky, Wilkinson says. "You take a risk when something important is at stake — and you might lose — but you decide to move forward for God," he writes. "David took a risk in going out to battle Goliath."
Again, he illustrates the principle with his own experience: "One risk I've taken lately is to take a stand against corruption in Third World Nations. I risk losing favor with those in power who profit inappropriately."

"The Dream Giver" may awaken — or revive — your own Big Dream. Reading it will likely do one of two things — spur you on to take the risk required by your dream, or cause you to retreat in fear and disobedience. You might want to consider those alternatives before you begin reading.

© 2004 AgapePress.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.