One of the things I like to do as I read the scriptures is write down just one thing, one quick takeaway from the section. For me, it’s a process that helps me move from simply reading the Word to allowing the Word to read me.
It’s a simple practice that anybody can do, it helps to reinforce what I’ve read, and it gives me an opportunity to engage with what the Holy Spirit might be trying to teach me.
This is my “quick thought” from today’s reading in 1 Chronicles 1-4
“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.” ~1 Chronicles 4:10
His birth was painful, his mom gave him a name that means “he makes me sad,” he grew up desiring success without pain, and that’s almost all we know about Jabez.
Feeling pain is not always a bad thing. We grow stronger by breaking down our muscles and giving them time to recover after exercise. Trees with the deepest roots have experienced some of the strongest winds. Giant Saquoia trees actually need forest fires to facilitate their growth. Following Jesus in faith is similar, and we trust him to push and stretch us so that we might know him more.
When success comes easy, it’s usually not all that memorable and you take it for granted. I wonder if that’s why we don’t know more about Jabez who was given expanded territory without trouble or pain. How did his character grow? How was he strengthened? How did he learn without difficulties and resistance? Why is he only remembered with two obscure verses in the middle of a long genealogy?
Jabez was no Jesus. Jesus was “familiar with pain,” his mom gave him a name that means “God rescues,” he grew in “wisdom and stature,” he suffered, died, and as a result of his self-sacrificing love, all of creation is reconciled.
This is what I heard in today’s reading, what did you hear?