Sermon Date: 1/11/09
Text: 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 – Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.
- Jabez evidenced integrity.
- Jabez overcame adversity.
- Jabez invited responsibility
- Jabez expected victory.
Reflections: I never read The Prayer of Jabez when the book swept through evangelical churches at the turn of the millennium. I’m not sure why I didn’t. Back then I had no qualms following the latest and greatest spiritual fads of the day. I never read Bruce Wilkinson’s bestseller, though I have read much about the controversy surrounding it. My Pastor said that he had – and really didn’t have much to say about it after that admission. He went on to preach on Jabez’s prayer in a way that contradicts the premise of the book. Our congregation soon discovered two important facts about Jabez’s prayer. 1. It is not a magic formula that works by quoting by rote day after day. 2. It is not a key to health, wealth and prosperity. In fact, my pastor believed that when Jabez cries out to the Lord to bless him and enlarge his territory he is asking primarily for more responsibility. More to do is a good thing. Jabez, who had been faithful with much, desired to be faithful with even more. Pastor quoted from Christ’s parable of the talents, paralleling the good and faithful servant with Jabez. Jabez wasn’t asking for material blessing so much as he was seeking to expand his usefulness and responsibility in service to God and his kingdom.
Personal Application: I left service asking these questions; In what way do I desire God to expand my territory? What area of ministry have I been found faithful in and am ready for God to increase my responsibility? I know what the big part of my answer is, but I’m not quite ready to make that public. Suffice it to say, I’m ready to expand my sphere of influence to reach beyond cyberspace. I am preparing to make sacrifices in money, time and comfort. It is all for the sake of the gospel and I am excited for the new challenges that lie ahead. The Lord is indeed beginning to do a work in my life that will greatly increase my borders. Pastor taught me that Jabez did not seek fortune and ease, but fullfillment and purpose in the midst of doing God’s will. By the grace of God I will pray God achieves his purpose for my remaining time on earth.