Summary: Ask God to expand your ministry, influence and witness.
1 Chronicles 4:10 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.
Are you living larger than life or is life living larger than you? What would it take to make your life better? Money man John D. Rockefeller said, "Just a little bit more."
Jabez wanted more than what he presently had as he prayed … "and enlarge my territory."
Bruce Wilkinson suggests Jabez looked at his present circumstances and concluded, "Surely I was born for more than this!"
Gordon McDonald writes in his book, "Restoring Spiritual Passion" … You see someone you know, and ask a simple question: "What’s going on in your world these days?" You may get an all too common answer: "I’ve got to cut down! I’m into too many things." Or you ask someone how he or she is feeling and you’re liable to hear the response, "I think I’m on the edge of burnout... or something." You comment on how busy the last few weeks seem to have been, and someone agrees and begins to philosophize: "Tell me, do you ever ask yourself why we’re doing all of this anyway?"
The last thing anyone probably wants to think about is "doing more!" We are people living a life that is larger than us.
Jabez was praying just the opposite … he wanted to live larger than life! He was seeking to live life by the motto, "Wanting to be more and do more for God."
When Jabez prayed for the enlargement of his territory … I believe he was asking for more than just land acquisition. He wanted more influence, more responsibility, and more opportunity to be and do more for God.
If we are going to be "living larger than life" we have to move the boundaries lines of our lives.
We have to start praying differently by asking for more rather than for less.
"O God and King, please expand my opportunities and my impact in such a way that I touch more lives for Your glory. Let me do more for You!" (Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez)
Three boundaries need enlarging …
- Expand our Hearing … to be more influential.
- Expand our Heart … to be more responsible.
- Expand our Heralding … to be more opportunistic.
1. Live Larger by Enlarging Your Hearing
There use to be an old commercial for an investment company called E.F. Hutton that stated, "When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen." The emphasis was upon influencing other people … for the good!
Who listens when God speaks? Do you hear Him speaking? Are you influencing life or is life influencing you?
We need to enlarge our borders by taking in more of God’s Word … the more we know God through His Word the more we are able to discern His voice in the world.
Joshua 3:9 So Joshua said to the children of Israel, "Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God."
"Hear" is the Hebrew word "Shema" that means to carefully consider and to diligently discern.
To be more and do more for God … our minds are to be filled beyond capacity with God’s Word. God’s Word needs to swell in our minds so as to push outward the small boundaries in of our lives.
1 Samuel 3:1 Then the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.
It was said at the Missouri Baptist Evangelism Conference that 92% of all Southern Baptist do not read God’s Word throughout the week.
Perhaps our perishing like lives are because the hearing of the Word of God no longer influences our lives to push us beyond our everyday hum-drum borders.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.
Hearing God’s Word can lead us to live larger than life and to become responsible to keep God’s Word.
2. Live Larger by Enlarging Your Heart
In the days of Joshua, God was looking to enlarge the borders as He spoke to Joshua.
Joshua 1:3 "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.
Some would see this as merely land acquisition based upon wherever Joshua & Co. physically stepped.
But God had already marked off the territory of land. The land was theirs, but Joshua & Co. would have to obey every word God spoken into their hearts.
Joshua 1:7 "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.