Right now, I’m thinking that Jabez was a lunatic. An irrational whacko. A moronic nitwit. But then again, God listened to him and appreciated his request, so the nitwit might be me.
Remember the story of Jabez? The guy from 1 Chronicles who asked God to enlarge his territory?
Why would he do such a thing? Didn’t he know how much work comes with an enlarged property? The amount of construction and cultivation required? How about the maintenance that he would be stuck with?
Did he realize that he would still have to cultivate the land that he already possessed and that the work of his enlarged territory would be added on top of the labor that already took up all his time?
Did he just like to suffer?
The prayer of Jabez
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!” So God granted him what he requested.
1 Chron 4: 10, NKJV
Jabez’ request was after God’s heart. He heard him and granted him what he asked for.
I wonder if Jabez ever regretted his prayer. In my imagination he wanders back and forth before locking eyes with his camel, saying: “Yeah, I know! It was dumb! Had I only known the amount of work I’d be left with, I’d kept my mouth shut!”
Whenever he was setting up new fences, clearing the land of rocks to be able to cultivate it, fighting off predators to protect the livestock, ignoring the neighbors shaking their head while whispering that he was in way over his head… Did he remember that this was what he asked for? Whenever his wife felt neglected and he missed out on family outings… Did the kids realize that this new territory was their future inheritance, or were they too busy complaining about the extra work that came with the expansion of the land?
How about the resources required? The sacrifices needed? I wonder how he felt about the investment he had to make before ever seeing any returns? The enlargement of territory hardly ever comes with extra resources, at least not at first. It comes with the potential of returns, that is, if handled adequately.
Did he know this when he prayed? Or did he realize only after his prayer was answered?
Promotions are messy by nature. They come in addition to everything you are doing already. Your longing may outgrow your capacity. You’ll find that you are not prepared. Not equipped. Not strong enough or smart enough.
God sees that, too. His conclusion may differ from yours, though. Because he sees a broken vessel and thinks, “Great! I can use her! My light will shine brightly through her!” Or he sees the fatigued, while thinking, “Wonderful! He’ll carry my power, and everyone will recognize the Kingdom!”
He sees you approaching your neighbor, feeling small and inadequate, and he rejoices: “That’s brilliant! We’ll go together! I will always show up when you ask me to!”
He gets you ready and he wastes nothing.
– Paul Manwaring
Too often, I see people give up when life gets difficult. I totally get it, I mean, been there, done that, got the t-shirt! A couple of days ago, I was on the phone for an hour and a half at night speaking to a guy in a faraway country about why my website was down. My technical skill set was so limited that I didn’t even know what to ask him! Which might explain why it took an hour and a half to fix… Anyway, I learnt something! Which I hope I won’t ever have to use again, by the way…
But you get what I’m saying. Difficult circumstances don’t always mean that you are under attack or that the enemy is out to get you. Actually, most often it’s because you are under construction. God is working on your expansion. He will do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Why? So that he will be glorified. So that his light will burn so brightly through you that others will find their way home.
If you want to enlarge your territory, you’ll have to acquire new skills. Grow some muscles. Get your feet wet. Maybe you need to roll up your sleeves and get your nails dirty. Get uncomfortable.
Everything worth having comes with a price. I wonder if we have become so used to talking about the gift of grace that we don’t know how to work for anything anymore. Yes, it’s true that your salvation is free, but someone definitely paid for it. Your name is written in the Book of Life, and you will spend eternity with him. He paid for that! You were given a life and a future. What are you going to do about it?
Do you want the promotion?
Having the favor of God does not give you a free pass. The more you have, the more is expected of you.
What will you do? Dig your talent in the ground, or work your investment?
Will you let him be glorified through you?