Enlarged (Part 2)

The name of Jabez will forever be associated with the thought of prayer. His request is one of those bright spots as you work your way through those early chapters of Chronicles where you feel as though you are reading through an old white pages phone directory.

He wanted to be blessed, and among the blessings he asked God for was, “O that Thou … enlarge my coasts (borders)” (1 Chron 4:10). Here is just one verse which stands out amidst a long list of names. Here was a man who wanted his inheritance to be enlarged or greater. He wanted to claim more of the land for himself.

Paul actually prayed this prayer for the Christians in Ephesus. He very likely had prayed it for himself many times, but the prayer in Ephesians 1 was for the readers of his letter. He asked the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ for three things for these Christians. That the eyes of their hearts might be enlightened to know:

  • The hope of His calling
  • The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
  • The exceeding greatness of His power, the power that was at work in raising Christ from the dead.

He wanted to shake the believers from being mediocre Christians to become enlarged in their vision and understanding. Comfortable Christianity is a danger to us all. At times, God has to rock our world a bit to make us sit up and take notice, to take inventory and ask ourselves some painful questions. When our routines and predictable lives are upset, we lose our sense of security, a security based on how we have ordered our lives. There is nothing evil in this; but He wants us to find everything in Him. Maybe, just maybe He will use the current pandemic to do that in my life.

As you watch your retirement plan bottom out, as you see the economy in dire trouble, as you endure the lockdowns and the curfews, and as you see all the avenues of service which you once did for the Lord closed, you have to stop and think. In my own case, the economy is not a big worry. It was an economic depression that took a grandfather from Italy to New York in the early 1900s instead of to Argentina where he really wanted to settle. When he came to the USA, he heard the message of the gospel and was saved. That brought the gospel eventually down to me. So, at times I say, “Thank God for recessions!”

But life has changed for now and you realize that the real point about Christianity is not the work I do for the Lord but the work He does in me. Can I use this time to begin to appreciate the “land,” the blessings into which salvation has brought us? If so, I can be enlarged. My vision will be enlarged, my worship will be enriched, and my life will be more conformed to His.

During this time of economic downtown and unemployment, lots of things are getting “smaller,” from your savings and investments to your plans for the next few months. But you can enlarge the one aspect of your life which will bring the most profit.