Greed Or Gratitude?

August 25, 2001

1 Thessalonians 2:3-6 – For our exhortation was not of deceit, not of uncleanliness, nor in guile: but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. (KJV)

It seems that ever since reading Chris Clark's devotional, "The Prayer of Jabez", which appeared on June 9th, I've noticed a proliferation of the prayer on everything from chains to teacups. Perhaps it was always there and I just didn't notice it.

A Christian store has stacks of a book titled The Prayer of Jabez at a reduced price. The prayer is printed on bookmarks, plaques, pendants and a plethora of other novelty-type items.

A religious organization canvassing for donations by mail offers The Prayer of Jabez book free of charge.

The newer version of the prayer, in both the NEB and the NIV, is the one that is most commonly used. It reads: "'Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.' And God granted his request." (1 Chronicles 4:10)

That there is a glut of the prayer on the market suggests that there is indeed a tremendous desire for "more" and "less": more of what we think we need, such as finances and property, and less of what we think we don't — harm and pain in any form — emotional, mental, physical, spiritual. What a wonderful world we would live in, and is it so wrong to want "more" and "less" of life?

There is an e-mail making the rounds which wishes the recipient "Enough". It is the story of a father and daughter, and is credited to Bob Perks, professional speaker, author and member of the National Speakers Association and National Writers Association. It says in part: "I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright; rain to appreciate the sun more; happiness to keep your spirit alive; pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger; gain to satisfy your wanting; loss to appreciate all you possess; and "Hellos" to get you through the final "Good-byes".

Perhaps as we pray the Prayer of Jabez, we will also pray with "Enough" in mind.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for words in prayer when we need them. May our supplications be brought to you from a place of gratitude, not greed. May we pray for the prayer, not the power. And may our desires for "more" and "less" be prayed as a request for "enough". In Your name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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