What if we were upfront with God and asked Him, straight up, to bless us? What if we altered our understanding of "blessing" from material gain to sphere of influence for His Kingdom? What if we boldly asked God to specifically use us to greatly advance the Kingdom of God? Too selfish? Too ambitious? I don't think so...
Tucked in the front section of 1 Chronicles we are introduced to an obscure character. This particular man has just two verses devoted specifically to his story. Nestled right in the middle of a genealogy list, we are introduced to a man named Jabez.
The Bible says that Jabez was "more honorable than his brothers". What made him more honorable? We don't know specifically because the Bible doesn't say. But we know that Jabez had a worshipful relationship with God.
Jabez didn't have much going for him. The Scriptures say that Jabez was given his name by his mother because his mother "bore him in pain". This may not be that significant for us today, but in the Old Testament era, the meaning of a person's name was a big deal. It often set the precedent for how that person was to live their life and it was often a foreshadowing of who that person would become. Jabez had the cards stacked against him from the very beginning.
So here is a man that had a worshipful relationship with God, whom we do not know much about other than the fact that he was a problem for his mom, given just two verse in Scripture. But 1 Chronicles 4:10 gives us "the rest of the story..."
And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!
Talk about boldness! Here is a man that literally had "nothing to lose". In a response to His love for the Lord, Jabez did not let the societal chains restrain Him from boldy asking God to use Him. This prayer is not a prayer of selfish gain but of Kingdom building influence. Jabez asked that God would broaden his influence for the Kingdom of God. Jabez loved God so much that he asked God to use him in a great way to advance God's Kingdom. And here is the best part...
So God granted him what he requested. Vs. 10b
What if we prayed like Jabez? What if we boldly went before the throne of grace and prayed that God would broaden our influence of the sake of His kingdom? What if we asked God to use us and THEN acted upon that prayer in faithful obedience? How different would our workplace be? How different would our communities be? How different would our churches be? God is listening.... just ask in faith.