Summary: Using the prayer of Jabez we can seek to enlarge our borders to perform ministry.
First Baptist Church
Enlarge My Territory (#2)
June 2, 2002
It’s becoming more and more normal to hear a professional athlete talk about their faith after a big win. In fact, some athletes talk about praying before their games. The typical prayer includes a petition to God to help their team win that game. They don’t pray for their opponents to get injured, or for the other team to play lousy, just for their team to play to the best of their abilities and for victory so they can honor Christ. Obviously players from both teams are praying for victory and in most sports, only one team will win. But, is there anything wrong with praying for victory?
What about the person who runs a business, is there something wrong with praying for more business clients? Or what about the farmer who’s interested in another piece of land, should they pray to receive it? Or what about praying for more responsibility in your job?
On the surface we would say there’s nothing wrong with asking for more. Yet, some people may question what your motivation is when you ask for additional land or more sales or a salary increase. And that’s a good question, because the reason we’re asking for something is contingent upon our motivation. For example, if I want more people in the church because it will boost my ego, that’s wrong, but if I want more people so they have the opportunity to hear the word of Christ and embrace Him and a new lifestyle, then my motivation is appropriate.
When we look at this 2nd part of the prayer of Jabez, we see Jabez asking for his territory to be expanded. Some say that this is a selfish and crude prayer, while others say Jabez is right on. So, who’s right?
Last week we began to look at the prayer of Jabez. Jabez’s name means he was a "Pain", in spite of this, he became the most honorable in his family. He prayed a 4 part prayer: to be blessed by God; to expand his territory; he asked God to stay with him and that Jabez would not be a pain to others.
Last week we looked at the first part of Jabez’s prayer, "Oh that You would bless me." To ask God for a blessing is to ask for nothing more and nothing less than all God has for us. It’s asking God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. It’s asking for the blessing and then being aware of how God brings that blessing into our lives. Our attitude needs to be focused on using that blessing for the benefit of others in the name of Christ, not for ourselves. Today we move on to the 2nd part of his prayer.
Bruce Wilkinson calls this section of the prayer, "Living large for God." And I like the way that sounds. Have you ever thought about your life in Christ, as living large for Him? Wilkinson wrote: "If you’re doing business God’s way, it’s not only right to ask God for more, but He is waiting for you to ask. Asking God to increase the people you can influence in the name of Jesus Christ brings delight to God"( 31-2).
I agree with that. And that request is entirely contingent on your motivation. If you want more sales so you can earn more money so you can buy yourself more toys, then don’t expect more sales. But if you want more sales so you can earn more money so you can give more money to the church and to those in need, then expect your prayers to be granted. But watch out, God will be watching to make sure you aren’t giving in to temptation.