Christian author Bruce Wilkinson, best known for his book “The Prayer of Jabez,” spoke at Liberty University’s convocation Friday, basing his message on three “generations,” represented by three chairs he had placed in front of the podium. He said the first was characterized by commitment, the second by compromise and the third by conflict.
The first generation of believers is like the children of Israel who fled Egypt, crossed the Jordan River and saw manna fall from the sky, he said. The second generation “knew the Lord, but they weren’t sold out” as those before them. The third generation disputes or denies the Christian faith altogether.
Wilkinson told students that after today, “You are going to know where you sit on these chairs, as an individual. You’re going to know where your parents sit, your brothers and sisters sit, where this college sits, where America sits.”
Wilkinson cited Joshua 24:15, in which Joshua declared, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The house of David, he explained, is a good model of how faith can vary from one generation to the next. David, who was all about people, was a typical first-generation believer, but his son Solomon and grandson Rehoboam served money and other idols and fell progressively farther away from the faith, he said.
“What does a first chair do when they come to Liberty?” Wilkinson asked. “They say, ‘Look, my life is yours; I want to maximize my life for eternity. I’ve got one short period of time, and this is it, and I want to bring heaven down through me. I want to do something extremely significant for eternity.”
If we take the talents that God gave us and serve him and prove ourselves, God will one day say, “I want you to rule the cities for me for the rest of eternity,” Wilkinson said.
Coming from a modest background, Wilkinson told how he was on track to be a millionaire by age 30, but God told him he needed to make a choice: “You can either sell out to me and I’ll take care of your money, or you can close your heart and make money your god, and you can probably make all the money you want. But you can’t do it with me.”
Wilkinson invited students to come forward and pray — regardless of which chair they were sitting on.
Wilkinson will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Writers Conference, being held on campus Friday and Saturday.