Summary: God is working to expand His reign and rule. Open your eyes and life to the oppportunities He provides. Pray like Jabez, enlarge my territory.
Enlarge My Territory
Charles Francis Adams, 19th century political figure and diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: "Went fishing with my son today--a day wasted." His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still in existence. On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry: "Went fishing with my father--the most wonderful day of my life!" The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. The only way to tell the difference between wasting and investing is to know one’s ultimate purpose in life and to judge accordingly.
Knowing your ultimate purpose changes everything. There’s an incredible focus and perspective for our lives that can only come from being caught up in God’s greater goals for humanity.
Take for example, our friend Jabez.
“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain." And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!" So God granted him what he requested.” 1 Chron. 4:9-10 (NKJV)
As you read about Jabez, as a King of Judah, perhaps your mind makes the same assumptions that mine does. Jabez is a king here, asking God to give him more territory, more land, more wealth. And maybe so.
But what if we’re supposed to notice what the Chronicle narrator tells us, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers…”
What if Jabez understood his role as King of Judah with more clarity than other rulers did. Remember, God didn’t want to give His chosen people an earthly king.
“Give us a King,” they would cry.
“But I am your King!” God would insist.
“Everyone else has a King they can see and follow.”
After a while of this, God caveats and gives the people what they’ve asked for… a physical King. But you hear God all the time saying…
“Okay, you’ve got your king. The throne in which he sits, I own. The crown he wears, I own. The borders he protects, I own. The people he rules, are mine. The blood running through his veins, belongs to me.”
Perhaps Jabez understands all this. Maybe, he sees himself not as sovereign, but as a servant of the High King of Israel. He knows that his role is to lead the people for God – to serve as a shepherd, a servant, a steward. Maybe he knows that his job is to be a lighthouse for the entire world to see the handiwork and the sovereignty of Yahweh.
All of which dramatically changes how you read “Enlarge My Territory.” Jabez is caught up in the greater purposes of his roles as a servant of the King. He’s a part of the greater purposes of God.
Enlarge my territory. Help me to better serve you. Allow me more land, more coastline, more kingdom to focus the masses on your commands, your call, your holiness, your grandeur, your love.
Such is the call of Enlarge My Territory. I read this quotation earlier this month regarding this very principle:
This call is unabashedly challenges the reader to pursue influence. For Jabez, that meant enlarging his territory. In America today, there is a broader application: the idea that our relationships, our experiences, and our work can, and should, be caught up in the larger purposes of God. That’s a throwback to a more unpolluted ideology, which counts all of life’s activities as opportunities to respond to the Divine Call.
So, when we pray enlarge my territory, we’re praying enlarge the range of my effort your Kingdom; open new doors of opportunity, increase my influence.
Part of what is going on here is that God has a plan. God strategically places each of us to accomplish elements and roles of influence in the spreading of His kingdom. Our jobs, our neighborhoods, our relationships are all venues through which God can use our influence to expand the kingdom and enlarge his territory.
So, recognize your territory - the places where you have influence for the King. The settings in which you operate are the territories that God has given you to represent the wishes, the plans and objectives of His kingdom. Your territory is your mission field, your ambassadorship.
And now, God invites you to pray as Jabez prayed, ‘enlarge my territory.’ Ask God to increase the range, the width, the depth of the territory you are to patrol and serve for His kingdom. Give me more influence for you God. Give me more opportunities for you. Wrap up all of my life in your great pursuit of your creation. Use each and every moment of my life, every muscle of my body, every word of my mouth to further draw people into your Kingdom, your rule. Enlarge my territory.