Summary: When Jabez cried out to God “enlarge my territory” he was looking at his present circumstance and concluding, “Surely I was born for more than this"--this message will help us to see where to go where the action is in the Jabez territory.
Today is part 4 of 6 of the challenges of the prayer of Jabez. Going where the action is and some perspectives on the Jabez territory.
We are examining the prayer of Jabez. Some of you may have it memorized by now: “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 Chronicles 4:9‑10) (NKJV)
When Jabez cried out to God “enlarge my territory” he was looking at his present circumstance and concluding, “Surely I was born for more than this.” (1) He wanted to begin “living large for God.” He wanted to go where the action is for God—not stay where he was or even go back from where he was.
Imagine God’s finger is skimping down the phone directory of heaven. Line by line, page by page, he’s looking for a name that stands out among all his loved people. And then his finger hesitates. It stops. Look closely—his finger has stopped at your name. Why? Because you took stock of your life one day and said, “I want more from you Lord, because I want to do more for you. O Lord, I want to go where the action is.”
Jabez wanted more out of life than he was experiencing. Can anyone here relate to that? Many of us can. It is the universal cry of humanity.
The Broadway play, Sweet Charity, depicts the life of dance-hall girls. Night after night they dance with any man who has the money to buy their time. Their greatest hope, however, is that someone will come in and dance them into a new life. Night after night they sing, “There’s got to be something better than this.”
Have you ever felt what they were feeling?
Shortly before Peter Sellers’ death, his fourth wife, actress Lynne Frederick, shared this observation about her husband: “His mind is in a constant state of turmoil about what his purpose is on this planet and whether it’s all worthwhile.” Have you ever been there?
Jabez was a man named “pain.” And he wanted more than that. Was that too much to ask? Jabez was not content to just survive--he wanted to thrive. And so he prayed not only “Bless me” but also “enlarge my territory.”
Is there anyone here today who has never asked God to improve your life—to show you where the action is? If not, then you do not know what “jabez,”--pain--is all about. Jabez was asking God to help him to have what God wants all of us to have--to know joy in place of pain, abundance in place of want, hope in place of despair. You don’t believe God wants you to be healthy, joyful,--to have all your needs met? Then what do you believe God’s will is for your life?
God is waiting for you to ask, to seek, and to find the action in the territory that God wants to give you. The opportunity and the need is right there before you. Listen to Jesus: Do you think the work of harvesting will not begin until the summer ends four months from now? Look around you! Vast fields are ripening all around us and are ready now for the harvest. John 4:35 You might be wondering what territory has been assigned to you—sign up for more work at church, go downtown Staunton and preach on the street corner, go to Africa as a missionary. What do you look for or what do you pray for?
Well, your territory is the whole world. ….go and make disciples of all the nations Matthew 28:19
So don’t worry – God wants to touch the world world through you.
Tony Campolo story – a friend of his, we’ll call Anne, was a divorced, middle-aged lady who was rather well off. She wanted very much to go to Calcutta to work with Mother Theresa. She wrote to Mother Theresa & told her how much she wanted to come & do this. She waited for a response and finally got a letter from Mother Theresa. It simply said, “I received your letter wanting to come to India. Thank you for wanting to come, but go and find your own Calcutta.”
Ask God for the entry point to your whole world today—it might be your family, some one in your neighborhood, someone at work. It could be summed up in 2 words—opportunity and love.
So ask your self: What is my overlooked OPPORTUNITY ?— 1985, in only his second season in the NFL, Dan Marino made it to the Super bowl. Despite throwing for over three hundred yards and a touchdown, Marino’s Miami Dolphins lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 34-16. Marino felt bad, but he wasn’t devastated. He was one of the most promising talents in the NFL. He had made it to the Super bowl in only his second season. Surely he would be back. Dan Marino retired in 1999. He holds just about every record imaginable for a quarterback, but he never made it back to the Super bowl. Even today he says that if he would have realized that 1985 was going to be his only Super bowl, he would have appreciated it more. He would have made the most of that opportunity.