Summary: This sermon gives a glimpse into the lifestyle of a person who makes God’s honor roll.
Have you ever seen an honor roll in the newspaper? It is a special achievement to have your name listed on such a roll. Carry that concept a step further. What a wonderful achievement to find your name listed on God’s honor roll! In the Bible we find a man who accomplished this feat. Jabez was his name. Look with me at I Chronicles 4:9-10. "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." I want to break this text down into three segments.
First, notice the honorable person’s desire. Verse 9 communicates a little of Jabez’s history. However, when you come to verse 10 you find the desire of his heart. "Jabez called on the God of Israel."
• The person who honors God desires to be different. Jabez’s name appears among a list of names in I Chr. 4. However, his name rises like a mountain peak among the other names. Jabez had a desire to be different and to live for God. (see verses 1-8)
• The person who honors God seeks to rise above short-comings. The name Jabez means "pain." Undoubtedly he did not have a good beginning. However, he was determined not to be intimidated by his past. Great people rise above their past.
Illustration: Fanny Crosby was blind most of her life yet she rose to be one of the greatest hymn writers of all time.
• The person who honors God desires that his life count for God. That is the essence of Jabez’s prayer in verse 10. He prayed that God would expand his territory. He wanted his life to count.
Notice a special point concerning Jabez. He labored in obscurity. The only thing we know about him is found in these two verses of scritpure. He labored in obscurity. Yet his life counted for God. Many of us will never see our names printed on a bill board. We labor in obscurity. God is looking for people who are faithful where they are.
Second, notice the honorable person’s decision. Jabez made a decision to live for God.
There is an old gospel song that discusses the decision to follow Jesus. It is entitled "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus." One phrase in that song states "Though none go with me I still will follow."
Jabez’s decision was reflected in the prayer he prayed. Last week I saw
a license tag that read "AskGod4". That is what Jabez did. He made a decision to ask God for His blessing. This prayer has become the title of a book, written by Bruce Wilkinson. This is an outstanding book. Jabez’s prayer contained four segments.
1. He has asked for God’s blessings. To ask for God’s blessings is to ask for God’s supernatural favor. Wilkinson says to ask for God’s blessings is to ask for what we could not get for ourselves.
2. He asked God to enlarge his territory. Jabez wanted to be used of God.
3. He wanted God’s hand to be on his life. Without God’s hand we cannot fulfill our task. When Jesus gave the great commission he promised His presence in fulfilling the command.
4. He wanted protection from evil. God’s blessings are meaningless if we stumble into sin on the way to finding them.
Last, notice the honorable person’s destiny. "God granted him what he requested."
Jabez’s destiny was fulfilled because God granted him the gift of answered prayer. That is true in every area of the spiritual realm. Our relationship with God is based upon grace. It is God’s gift.
- We are saved by the gift of salvation.
- Our prayers are answered because of the gift of God’s grace.
- We live because life is a gift from God.
All of these are free gifts. However, God’s gifts require that we ask.
Illustration: Several months ago a friend notifed me that I had an unclaimed reimbursement with the state of Alabama. I contacted them and found that I had a $50 reimbursement due me for an old power bill. All I had to do was request the reimbursement. I made the request and received it in a couple of weeks. Had I not asked I would not have received! God’s blessings are that way.
This boils down to a matter of trust. Jabez prayed his prayer and left the outcome with God. He did not dictate to God. He trusted God to answer in His own special way.