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Job, Jabez and Bono for Dinner

If I had Bono, Job and Jabez over for dinner - what would they say about seeking more?

There are lots of people I might ask to dinner to discuss the idea of wanting more- billionaires with more money than they can spend in ten lifetimes. The famous and infamous who seem to be insatiable in seeking more attention. The powerful- kings and kingmakers always seeking what people of power seek; more power. I decided that if I was not confined by time, I would ask these three people to dinner and have a conversation.

As the host, I admit I have an agenda; I want permission to be ambitious without compromising my relationship with God or my eternal salvation.

I try to understand ambition and I struggle. Is it “ok” to be ambitious? I wonder if I am sinful to want things, to push for a personal set of goals and future. To have an agenda that I believe is my own, yet does not conflict with what appears to be God’s agenda. Is that sinful and prideful? Is the only way to serve God and bring glory to him means to shuffle along with my head down and mumbling about every success, “It’s all God."

I have been told that all of the things I do are “To bring glory to God.” That is not as complete an answer as I would like to have. What the heck am I supposed to do that brings glory to God?  I feel a certain hollow piety when I hear those words. I’m not unwilling or disinterested, I just do not get it.

Jabez cries out to God, the provider of all things, that God would bless him with more. 

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from the evil one." And God granted his request. Prayer of Jabez - 1 Chronicles 4:10

Job has more than any one else in his time, loses it all and gets double what he had back. (You have to read the last chapter of Job to understand how things work out after he loses everything).

“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. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. Job 1:1, 3b

Bono and U2 sing of a relationship with Jesus Christ in their song “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for.” The lyrics imply that a Christian can have faith while at the same time seeking greater understanding. Bono sings about faith and wanting more.

He will lift you

Higher and higher

He will pick you up when you fall

He'll be the shelter from the storm

I believe that he will come

Then all the colors will bleed into one

Bleed into one

But yes I'm still running

You broke the bonds

Loosened the chains

Carried the cross

Of my shame

Of my shame

You know I believed it

But I still haven't found

What I'm looking for

But I still haven't found

What I'm looking for

I have climbed (I have climbed)

The highest mountains (highest mountains)

I have run (I have run)

Through the fields (through the fields)

Only to be with you (only to be with you)

Only to be with you (just to be with you)

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Lookin For" U2, Bono, (Partial lyrics)

I like being productive and achieving goals. I like seeing “the fruits of my labor.” Should I be ashamed? I’m not. I feel like I am supposed to be, but I’m not. 

I look to the people around me who I deeply respect and know to be of deep faith. These people are energized and passionate. They laugh and tease people around them and receive as well as they give. They have no shame in big dreams and ambitions. They are Jabez and Job- they seek to expand their land and holdings. They have to be selfish and egotistical, right? The people that I know have strong senses of themselves and humility before God. 

King David celebrates his ambitions and achievements, but all in humility and recognition of God’s power:

The king rejoices in your strength, Lord.

How great is his joy in the victories you give

2You have granted him his heart’s desire

and have not withheld the request of his lips.

You came to greet him with rich blessings

and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.

He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—

length of days, for ever and ever.

Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;

you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.

Surely you have granted him unending blessings

and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

For the king trusts in the Lord;

through the unfailing love of the Most High

he will not be shaken.Psalm 21:1-7

David talks about “more" in the this Psalm in context of God first. 

Jesus, when asked, tells us to put God first, before and more important than all things in life, this is the greatest of all commandments. Loving your neighbor as yourself is the second. (Mark 12:29-31)

Now I have 5 people for dinner; Jabez, Job, Bono, King David and Jesus. Two guests have asked for more, two guests have received more. Jesus declares what is most important before more of anything. 

With coffee and dessert, it seems to me that the guests for dinner would summarize things this ways:

Seek God’s blessing and provision in all things. Put God first in your life in all things. Take care of others and treat them well. These things put God first, others second and you third. That does not make the ideas of more or ambition, wrong or bad, it just places those ideas in the order God would have us live our lives.

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