I never want to have a harsh hand here.
But there is something the Lord has placed on my heart for this week - that really requires me to just shoot straight.
And I feel like I'm supposed to direct this arrow - at the husbands and fathers.
I'm wincing a bit.
"Lord, guys? I don't speak their man language. And on top of that - this word fits women, as well. Especially this woman."
So I almost nixed the post. But the pressing continued. And the feeling crept on - that while this message hits all of us....He crafted this particular word for the men with rings on their left hands and children in their laps....
You know the prayer of Jabez?
The one found in 1 Chronicles 4:10?
"Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!"
Yes. That one.
Back in the 90's - this prayer blew up. Someone wrote a book on it - guaranteeing prosperity after praying it. It was written on tokens and bookmarks and scribbled on note cards and plastered to bathroom mirrors. But I fear we have taken this one prayer - from a man whose name derives from pain (read verse 9) and we have twisted it - and torn it to pieces.
Especially that 'expand my territory' part.
Men....I come to you with a humble offering today...
Are you asking the Lord to broaden your borders? Increase your ministry opportunities? Up your influence?
I lift up this bowed low word:
Look around you. Get up and walk the soil that the Lord has provided for you this day. Take a look at the ones He has placed in your care during this season.
Are you tending them well?
Are you leading, cultivating, nourishing the ground He has you plopped on right this moment?
Or, are you too busy dreaming up what other land you could be cultivating tomorrow?
That ground you are currently inhabiting - it's holy.
You might even want to take your shoes off.
Stay a while. Let some of your dreams find a home - within the borders of your current situation.
Accept the woman, the loud children, the small plot of land - that He has given you. Let your ministry and your leadership and your influence - be at their best with the ones that live on the same tiny plot of dirt as you.
We need you here.
The word of God is clear.
We live under your strong wing, sir.
We women and our children...we need you to tend our hearts well. Nourishing the ones that have been entrusted to you - will reap the largest harvest. It's the most regal work you'll ever do. Be present in it!
Dreaming is good. Believing that God can use you to do big things - what warrior thinking!
But train yourselves, prove yourselves, show yourselves faithful - as you quietly minister to the ones that live within your very own walls.....where only a few see your steady obedience - no applause attached.
Oh men, fathers - I say this in a hushed but loud whisper....don't ask for your territory to be enlarged when you aren't tending the territory you currently live on.
I think this might be something we need to sit on this week. Maybe discuss again?
On Friday - we will go a little deeper into it all. I'll share a vision we received that changed everything. We'll look at a bit more scripture.I'll share some points we have learned in a class we're taking at church. And perhaps some input will be shared from the one I wed?
Until then - pray. Ask the Lord to search your heart and show you where you might be looking beyond your borders when you need to mend the ground you have.
We are doing it with you.
See you Friday.