the book centered on this guy’s interpretation and application of an old testament passage in first chronicles:
Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that it not be to my sorrow! God granted him that which he requested. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
sermons were preached…small group study curriculum was written…bands wrote songs…mugs and t-shirts were printed…wall art of every kind was created…jewelry was made…you name it! and all of it because of those two verses. and more importantly, the author’s interpretation of those words.
there was always something about his interpretation that left me uncomfortable. in fact, i’m always suspect of making unfiltered applications of old covenant promises to the nation of israel , the norm for the modern-day new covenant church.
different setting…different people…different purpose.
the line, “enlarge my border (or territory)” was always particularly troublesome. it seemed like everybody and his brother was latching on to that line as a blueprint for church growth and breadth of influence.
whether or not that (or anything like that) was the intent of jabez’ heart is debatable. but in this current day and age of people needing places to truly connect and be seen as something more than just a statistic… or a bee-hind in a church pew…here’s a new take on that part of jabez’ prayer:
“Lord would you shrink my territory so I actually care about the people/place we minister in.”