“Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!’” ~1 Chronicles 4:10 (NRSV with emphasis)
It is the predominant worldly desire, and so much more in this social-media day, to have one’s boundaries extended—this is what we, at the level of our flesh, determine as “success.”
We want more: more friends, more fans, more followers, and more funds!
This sense means ‘more is more’—and there’s a certain truth to that. Unfortunately, though, it takes “more” in the wrong direction.
This type of “more” is what most of life is focused on; sales and marketing pitches are well awake to it; they hone in on our inner need to extend one’s boundaries so “more” can be achieved. At least they appeal that way.
But there is a flipside to the extension of one’s boundaries that the world hardly ever thinks about, or our flesh. And it all comes together or becomes unravelled according to our motive.
We must ask ourselves why we wish our boundaries extended.
Going Beyond the World’s Concern
So, if our normal world concern is us, alone, or at most, for the most part, our family members, associates and close friends, what if we were to extend that concern to the world as it relates to the very next person or people in our midst?
Going beyond the world’s typical concern—for personal success—is about sponsoring others in their successes.
Somehow we must deal with the guarded, selfish concern. Such a concern is a critical barrier and, first, we must understand an urgent truth:
We present to our world that which we see from within. If there is darkness, the world cannot be inspired. But if there is light—a modern self-acceptance—the world breathes in our presence and a situational heaven is, therefore, known.
Going beyond the world’s concern is getting beyond our own concern; this can only be done, paradoxically, when we are uniquely comfortable in our own skin and find our psyches pleasantly palatable. This is no small task for the majority of us.
The Real Extension of Boundaries
It’s very hard to find evidence for it, but the faithful know this: God tends to bless the faithful, in generalised ways at least, and the faithful are known by their ability to give in predominance to their taking.
Our boundaries are extended when we are found trustworthy and reliable in smaller things. Jesus demonstrated this in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
Blessing one’s world is the indirect way of finding personal favour, not least with God. The way to it is through the extension of one’s boundaries, and that’s achieved by being faithful in small things, first.
Blessing one’s world is the straightest way to bless one’s own life.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.