Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Born Loser

When I was a kid, about nine years old, I really got into the comic section of the newspaper. Peanuts, Blondie and B.C. were all great strips. There was one strip I enjoyed in particular though. I think my attraction came from the fact that it was the only strip my dad would read. Boys at this age tend to emulate their dads. (A post for another day!) The strip was The Born Loser. The misadventures of poor old Brutus Thornapple can still be read today at http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/bornloser.
The Bible speaks of a born loser as well. His name wasn’t Brutus, however; it was Jabez. Listen to 1 Chronicles 4:9: “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’” Jabez was born in pain. He undoubtedly lived his life that way as well. After all, Jabez means “Pain.” Most commentators believe that he had some form of disability that caused his life to be wracked with pain. This boy walked around everyday being constantly reminded of his pain whenever someone called his name. On the playground, “Hey, Pain, want to play kickball?” At the office, “Excuse me, Mr. Pain. Do you want to see the sales forecast now?” Now despite all of this it was Jabez…Pain…that uttered the prayer, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory.” Jabez, the born loser, called upon his God.
You know, the same prayer that Jabez uttered is available to you and to me. We can also call upon our God and pray for ourselves, for our families, and for our churches. Won’t you? Ask God to enlarge your borders, your circle of influence. Ask Him to walk with you, holding you by the hand. And pray that God would keep you from harming His witness. Listen to the HSCB translation: “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez and said, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez called out to the God of Israel: "If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any pain." And God granted his request.”
In a sense, we are all losers! We lost the first moment we sinned; but we do not have to stay that way. I would challenge you to expand your prayer life. If you are praying five minutes a day, make it ten. If you’re praying two hours a day, make it three. Like Jabez, you may not be free from your pain, but you will have God’s blessing on your life.

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