Jabez’s name is only mentioned three times in the Bible. His brief appearance can be found in 1 Chronicles 4. This specific chapter contains all the names of those in the lineage of Judah – the line of Kings. Name after name is listed. Telling which father had which son and so on. Among all of this the young man Jabez is mentioned. The Bible points out three important things about him. The meaning of his name, how he was more noble than his brothers, and his prayer to God.
His name in the literal translation means “born with pain.” We don’t know for sure why his mother named him the way she did. Maybe it was because his birth was especially difficult or maybe it was because she was acknowledging the difficulties of birth in general. The curse that is passed down to all women because of Eve’s sin. Whatever the meaning behind his name, Jabez didn’t let it hold him down. Instead he prayed to God for strength to be more than just the meaning of his name.
The Bible says he was more honorable than all of his brothers. In Bible times honor was a big deal. He must have been a pretty cool guy to get called out among all those names and all of his siblings. Not only did the author of Chronicles list him in the lineage, but he gave special attention to him.
Jabez prayed a really neat prayer to God. He asked for a blessing in his life and for protection. A simple prayer right? But there was actually more. He prayed for God to expand his territory – to show him people that he could be a positive influence to. This young man who may not have had the best life himself, who’s name literally meant pain, prayed to be a blessing to others. He trusted in God and laid his life down at the feet of his creator.
Who would have known that such a character dwelt among the many pages of the Bible. What if we made our prayers as simple and heart felt as Jabez? Would we see a difference in our lives? Would we have the strength to move past the things that label us and live our lives to be a blessing to others?