I Want More
We live in a society that thrives on more. People everywhere are after more possessions and more money. Investors warn their clients that you can never have enough when it comes to retirement. Politicians want more power, children want more toys. A Hollywood actress was asked if over 5000 pairs of shoes weren't enough and she said, “When it come to shoes I will add onto my house to make room for them.” In the days of the horse and buggy a pastor called his congregation together for a Prayer meeting. He couldn't get any of them to pray out loud. After a while he decided to challenge his parishioners with a very inviting offer – “If there's anyone here who can pray for 5 minutes non-stop without repeating yourself, you may have my horse.” There was dead silence in the church as no one moved. A young man rose and asked, “Is the saddle included in the offer?” The question is often asked – “When will enough be enough?” Let's be honest – what is it that we ask God for most of the times we come before Him in prayer? I think it's for physical health, prosperity for our families, peace in the country we live and that we will be delivered from all fear. What about spiritual blessings and growth that are so essential in our walk with Jesus? Can you remember the prayer of Jabez from 1 Chronicles 4: 10? – “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 so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. There are many who believe that everything Jabez requested from God was about himself, that he prayed out of selfish ambition. But you see, what he requested was that God would make him effective as a person, in order to influence the lives of those around Him. Bob Proctor, a motivational speaker who leads seminars once said, “There are no limitations to any person's life of what God can do through that person.” As I was thinking of a message for Cooke's on this 133rd anniversary, God's Spirit brought to my mind – We have to ask God for more – more in our spiritual lives as individuals, but more as a family of believers of how we can effect one another and be equipped to make a difference in the world.
In Job 42: 12 we are told that the Lord blessed the latter part of Job's more than the first. What can we learn about the word “more” in this particular verse? Webster's dictionary defines “more” as being “in greater quantity, amount, measure, degree or number.” What God did in the life of Job exceeded the definition of “more” I just mentioned. After everything Job went through – all the losses, frustration, doubt and even anger, God blessed him with more than what he could ever ask for. Let's think about it – when someone is offered something extraordinary by a person it always has limits. A young woman in Austria received a letter that she inherited an estate from her aunt. She was overjoyed and sold her house and moved to the estate. It had an old heritage house on the property and after a while she discovered that there were bad cracks in the walls. She consulted with a company and they said that the house had to be condemned. The foundation put the house in jeopardy and nothing could be done about it. The young woman commented, “I thought I received more than what I could ever ask for, but in the end the only thing I have is financial ruin.” What Job received from God had no limits. It was far more than just “more” in verse 12. Spiritually he was restore to the point where he made his peace with his Creator. Listen again to verses 4 to 6, “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.” Physically Job received more than what he could handle. We read in verses 12 and 13, “...He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters.”
From Job's life we learn that there is 1 The Pathway To More. For Job it began with a decision to walk with God and the same is true of any other servant of God. We read at the beginning of the book Job about his walk – “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil...” The fear Job had for God is a fear many people never comprehend. They think you have to tremble of fear when God is mentioned – that He's out to get you. No, the fear for God means that you show the deepest respect and reverence for Him. Proverbs 9: 10 tells us “The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom.” You see, Job found that wisdom. When those around him couldn't say no to to the evil in the world he did. We read here that he shunned evil. When one of the most prominent professors of the Dutch Reform Church in South Africa committed adultery and was removed from his position, he commented months later, “I gave in to the temptation of being placed on a pedestal by a woman other than my wife and things just got out of control.” There was a temptation for Job as well and that was when friends wanted him to believe that God was unjust. They were basically telling Job, “You're better off not following God.” But Job stayed on God's path. Though he complained to God about things, which he later confessed, he still stayed the course. Through everything he experienced he knew that to get to more in your life you have to walk with God. As we are gathered as a people of God we have to be honest about the state of the world. The word out there is, “Walk on the pathway of modern society. It's all about human rights; it's all about what is relevant in the year 2021. You might just as well get used to the reality – this is a pagan world.” No my friends, a thousand times no. This is our Father's world and sadly so many choose not to walk in His ways. And you know, some fell out of God's race because they thought it wasn't worth it. What do we learn from Job? God's path was worth it all the way. He was rewarded by God double of what he had before. To us God's voice comes so clearly, “Stay on course. Remember the words of my Son, Jesus, 'Follow me'”.
There was something prominent in Job's life about arriving at the point to receive “more” – 2 Acknowledge God In Difficult Times. From the depth of depression Job started to sing God's praises – ”I know my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.” In most cases we sing God's praises after the storm is over; after He changed our hopeless situations. Then we say there's reason to rejoice. But what was true of Job? Before there was any indication that the darkness of his life was going to change, he acknowledged God. His attitude was, “God doesn't have to prove anything to me in the midst of what I am going through. He is the God of heaven and earth and in the end He will reign over the earth.” You see, the “more” came for Job in the midst of his hardships. Like Paul rejoiced in God in a dark prison cell, Job rejoiced, because He acknowledged God.
Cooke's church had it's challenges over 133 years. There were times when this family of God was tested, but through it all God remained faithful. We can affirm what we sang at the beginning of the service Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be…
May we always find our strength and courage in the Lord as a family of Cooke's and the Presbyterian Church in Canada as we face challenges before us.