I’ve never considered being called average a compliment. I think it means you’re just as close to the bottom as on top. I don’t believe that God meant for you to be average. I don’t think God meant for you to live a so-so or bland, mediocre life. As a leader, I don’t think God intends for you to be an average leader. I believe that every human being was designed for excellence, that you’re not one in a million, you’re one in five billion and as the book In Search of Excellencestates, “The average person desires to be excellent in many different ways.” There is no one else like you in the universe.
As Pastors and Christian leaders, one of the key elements in our pursuit of being an above average leader is having an above average prayer life. I want to share some big lessons from the life of Jabez about the prayer life of an above average leader.
Jabez is a man who literally stood out in a crowd. There isn’t much written about him in the Bible. In 1 Chronicles 4, you find a couple of sentences about him in the middle of a bunch of genealogies. In the middle of 600 names God singles out one man for special recognition. He stands above average. He’s like a redwood tree in a forest of Bonzai’s.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 it says, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez saying, `I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez cries out to God, `O God, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory and keep me from harm so that I would be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”
Out of those two obscure verses, we learn that there are three secrets to his life as an above average leader. What can we learn from Jabez?
You Need a Great Ambition
Jabez didn’t want to be ordinary. He wanted to excel and grow. In other words, he was a person of vision and dreams. He wanted something special and something great from his life. Most of all, he wanted God’s blessing in his life.
A lot of people never achieve the leadership level that they could achieve in life because they just drift through life with no ambition, no master plan, no real purpose, no dream that pulls them along. It’s what I call haphazard living. You’ve got to have a dream if you’re going to be a great leader. And in looking at Jabez’ prayer life we’ll find that his prayers actually came out of his dreams. When you stop dreaming, you start dying. If you have no goals, you have no growth. You were designed by God for great dreams.
You Need a Growing Faith
Jabez had a deep trust and belief in God. It is obvious from his prayer that he recognized that the source of his blessing was the Lord. It reminds me of William Carey who said, “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” In these two verses, we notice a couple of things about Jabez. If you’re going to live above average, you first need a great ambition and second, you need a growing faith.
For the rest of the article…