Contributors, Consumers and Critics

by Ken Wootton

The prayer of Jabez became a famous prayer throughout Christendom: there were popular books written, plaques and tributes made and many prayers prayed and answered inspired by this simple prayer. Jabez’s prayer is found in 1 Chronicles 4:9–10 “There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.”

Jabez asked God That he would be blessed and God answered Jabez’s prayer. So often people just don’t ask! We seem to have a concept that God is too busy, or we think “why would I bother God with this?” Yet, all through time people have asked God for things and God has answered. So, what are you asking God for?

Why don’t you take out your note pad, your journal or your device, and ask God for your needs and situation. Interestingly, Jabez prayer or ask was that God would bless him. Everyone wants to be blessed, so what set Jabez apart from others? The prologue to the prayer provides an interesting key. Jabez was honourable – this was the thing that set Jabez apart from his brothers.

So what does being honourable mean? The Oxford dictionary provides this description “bringing or worthy of honour”; and synonyms “honest, moral, ethical, principled, righteous, right-minded, decent, respectable, estimable, virtuous, good, upstanding, upright, worthy, noble, fair, just, truthful, trustworthy, law-abiding, reliable, reputable, creditable, dependable, illustrious, distinguished, eminent, great, glorious, renowned, acclaimed, prestigious, noble, creditable, admirable”. More telling maybe the antonyms they use: “crooked, deplorable.”

Throughout the bible there is a theme that those who sow reap a harvest. Jabez would appear to be a contributor to society, whereas others, like his brothers, seemed to be consumers. In a broad context there seems to be three types of people in this world, Contributors, Consumers and Critics. Which one are you?