If you've been to Disneyland or Disney World with children, they made sure you got on this cute little ride called "Small World." It's this little boat that takes you on a trip down this winding little canal where these precious little dolls sing to you. They're dressed like children from all over the world, and they're singing this little song to you - "It's a small world after all." And it's cute - for a while. The problem is they keep singing it to you, around every bend, from every side. By the end of that ride, you are sick of a small, small world!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "When You're Tired of a Small, Small World."
There's a man in the Bible who was. And maybe you are. Now, it isn't that your life isn't full - it's just not fulfilling. You're restless, feeling a little claustrophobia, you know there must be more than this.
That's where this man in the Bible named Jabez was. If you've never heard of Jabez, that's okay, most people haven't. He's only mentioned once in the Bible and he's in the middle of nine chapters of genealogies. In this endless list of people who are only remembered because they "begat" someone, God suddenly stops the list to tell us about one man who stood out in this sea of mediocrity. And all we know about him is that he prayed. But in this simple prayer of Jabez - which obviously really impressed God - is a launching pad for the larger life you're restless for.
It's found in our word for today from 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers...Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, 'Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm...'" And then this little footnote - "And God granted His request." Then it goes right back to the begatters. Obviously, God responds to a prayer like the prayer of Jabez.
Why? First, because it's impassioned, not just a casual "Dear God" thing. "Jabez cried out" to God. God responds to desperate, heartfelt, "O Lord!" prayers. Secondly, life-enlarging prayer recognizes that everything depends on the blessing of God - "Oh, that You would bless me." There is nothing worth losing the blessing of God for - no sacrifice too great to have the blessing of God. One great Christian leader used to pray this way, "Lord, we ask not that You bless what we do, but that we do what You bless."
Thirdly, the prayer that blows the wall off your small, small world trusts God to enlarge the impact of your life. "Enlarge my territory." You dare to dream a big dream, planted by God in your heart. You reach out to Him and say, "Lord, I want to make a greater difference with the rest of my life than I've ever made before."
Finally, life-enlarging prayer dares to go where you've never gone because the hand of God is upon you. "Let Your hand be with me and keep me from harm." You dare to risk because you are trusting God to guide you with His hand where you're supposed to go and you know you'll be safe because He is protecting you.
God's been waiting for you to get tired of your small, small world - so tired that you would fall on your knees before Him and trust Him to make your life so much bigger - bigger than you ever thought it could be.