Jabez was honored more than his brothers; and his mother named him Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain." Jabez called on God of Israel, saying "Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!" And God granted what he asked.
1 Chronicles 4: 9-10 (NRSV)
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32 (NRSV)
When Arlene Henry, from St. Maarten, worked as an airline service agent, she would frequently help people find their missing luggage. However, she noticed that over time, the airport accumulated suitcases and personal belongings that were left behind. Those items would sit in the storage area, sometimes for months, unclaimed by anyone despite their efforts to alert other airports and airlines worldwide. It seemed as if no one had ever filed a missing baggage report. And the owners never got the pleasure of being reunited with those personal effects, some of which appeared to be quite valuable or sentimental.
Arlene thought of those unclaimed items as she read 1 Chronicles and wondered, Do we sometimes miss out on God's blessings because we fail to ask? Perhaps we think we are undeserving or insignificant. But the book of James says that whatever we lack might be because we don't ask or we ask wrongly (Jas. 4:2-3).
In today's reading, Jabez was not hesitant about asking God to bless him in very specific ways, and God granted his requests. Arlene wants to be bold like Jabez. She wants to confidently ask God to bless her. She wants to believe that her Creator desires to bless her lavishly. All the while, She hopes to remember that all blessings are given in accordance with God's will and divine purpose.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for all the ways that you bless us. Help us to speak the desires of our hearts to you and trust in your purpose, in Jesus' name. Amen.