Summary: This sermon, based on Jabez's prayer, encourages believers to understand that no matter how insignificant they may think they are, or how obscure their life is, they can & will make an impact for the glory of God.
“IMPACT IN OBSCURITY” 1 Chron. 4:9-10
INTRO – NCAA Championship football game Monday night – Alabama put a beat-down on Notre Dame. Throughout the game, the commentators, Kirk Herbstreit & Brent Musberger, talked about “impact players.” Would put their names, pictures, numbers, & positions on the screen. These were players that had taken seriously their jobs as players on their teams & had proven that they truly wanted to be on the team & in the game. They didn’t just talk about it – they put it into action.
So, question for today: Do you & I truly want to be on the team & in the game? Do we want to be “impact players”? Doesn’t mean that you have to be a famous football player or a big-time “mover & shaker.” Doesn’t necessarily mean that lots of people are going to know who you are & are going to be talking about you in awe. Doesn’t mean that you have to have some extraordinary ability or talent in some area. Simply means that you are willing to be used by God in whatever way He sees fit to make an impact for His K’dom. Simply means that you want to be on the team & in the game.
- Recognition not important to you
- Accolades not important to you
- Fame not important to you
Just want to make an impact for Him – simple as that. Charles Stanley: “If you…will walk in step w/ Him, you will make a positive impact…Your character, your conversation, your conduct…You can have an impact on someone’s life by the way you live.”
Title of today’s message – “Impact in Obscurity.” The Bible is full of people who were used by God to make an impact, even though they are obscure Biblical characters. We all know names like Paul, Peter, David, Moses, Noah, & others. Know something about the impact that they made in God’s service. Large portions of Scripture either written about them or written by them.
But what about names like Ehud, Jethro, Elishama, Abishag, Shamgar, Bezalel, & Oholiab? How about Josiah, Micaiah, Naaman, Joseph Barsabbas Justus, Jephthah, & Jabal, Jubal, & Tubal-Cain? Some of you who have been serious students of the Bible may have some knowledge of who these folks are. But for the most part, they’re pretty obscure compared to those I mentioned earlier.
Jabez is another obscure Biblical character. Some of you may disagree w/ that b/c of the book that Bruce Wilkinson wrote several years ago entitled The Prayer of Jabez. You may have read that book. You may have heard some sermons preached on that prayer. But truth is, before yr 2000, Jabez was as much in the obscure category for the vast majority of us as are Shammua, Shobab, & Elishua. And b/c the book is 12-13 yrs. old, he is probably still in the obscure category for many of you here today.
But there are some wonderful principles we can glean from Jabez’s obscurity. These principles from his tiny 2-verse insertion in the Bible can have a huge impact in our daily lives & can help us make an impact for the Lord.
The book of 1 Chron. is one of those books that, if we are completely honest, we tend to skim through as we are reading through the Bible. If you’re using the DailyWay Bible Reading Calendar, you’ll come to 1 Chron. on July 15 of this year. You & I will probably be tempted to just sort of glance at these chapters so we can check the boxes off in the calendar. Not saying that we SHOULD do that, but we will certainly think about it.
But there must have been something different about Jabez. Listen to this: 1 Chron. 4:1-8. Nothing spectacular in those verses, other than the fact that they are included in the Bible, which makes them tremendously significant. Certainly not making light of these verses, just saying that they are sort of unassuming as they're included in a few hundred verses that are very similar to them in these early chapters in 1 Chron.
Out of nowhere, these 2 verses jump out & impact us. This obscure man named Jabez, given his name b/c his mother was in pain, gives us some principles that we can apply to our lives in order to live for the Lord & impact others’ lives. Check out these 3 principles:
Live a life of honor – v. 9a – We don’t know anything about Jabez’s brothers. All we know is that he was “more honorable” than them. To be honorable may have meant that he was a man of great riches or great courage & strength. No way to truly know about that.
But we can definitely know that a great deal of his honorable life came from the fact that he was a man who knew who His God was. His honor is based on that fact or he would not have been singled out in this passage.