“Jabez, was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez and said, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ ’’ 1 Chronicles 4:9 Holman Christian Standard Bible
I’m intrigued at what appears to be an anomaly! In a listing of the who begat whom, what difference does it make if Jabez is “more honorable” than his brothers? And correct me, mothers, if I’m wrong, but isn’t all childbirth painful?
Good questions you say? I think so, I agree with you completely. However, where do we go next? How are we to discover what is offered to us in this little aberration? What does God want us to discover in the adjectives and nouns used to describe this individual more than 3000 years ago? A man in a different time, culture, and land whose understanding of life is as foreign to us as is Mars!
“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.”
How are we to understand what it meant and what it means when the word honorable describes the character of a man, especially as it is used describing him in contrast to his brothers? Essentially, the word honorable is a word that is not used as much in 21st century writings and conversations as it was in earlier centuries! It seems to have become a dinosaur word in our time, extinct except for its use to describe what someone is not.
Webster’s Dictionary defines honorable as: [adjective] deserving of honor and respect; having or showing honesty and good moral character; fair and proper: not deserving blame or criticism
So, we are to understand Jabez was seen as an honest, respected man, and very likely an elder sitting at the city gates offering his wisdom. Perhaps he sat as a judge ruling on disputes, settling arguments, keeping peace in his city.
I’d accept those words if someone wanted to use them in describing who I am, how others see me. Yes, I wouldn’t squabble if others saw me or “painted” me with words of that hue. Unfortunately for me, I am very much afraid it would depend on who you were asking to describe my character! It might be best if I handed you a list of specific individuals to question concerning the “color” of my honor or integrity. The truth is I have not always responded, operated, acted, thought, conducted, lived, as a man of honor or integrity!
That list is just one of the reasons why grace, God’s Grace means so much to me, because I am desperately in need of every atom, ion, every infinitesimal speck of grace! I have absolutely no problem in being a fanatic for God’s Grace! Some days His Grace is all that keeps me going, on those days when the enemy reminds me of all the ways I have messed up, not only my life but the lives of others.
As a Pastor, Chaplain, Teacher, I take very seriously the admonition given by God, the warning God places upon those He calls, the responsibility we are given for those God brings into the sphere of our influence. If you aspire or feel you are called into serving God specifically as a Pastor, Chaplain, or Teacher, understand the responsibility you are accepting. For every word, attitude, thought, question we generate in others, we are held to a higher level of responsibility.
There is a need to realize and remember that reality every day. From moment to moment, often several times a day, you will be reminded of your gift, your talent, and the responsibilities they carry. As we bring the practicality of Grace into the lives of others, we also bring the joy, peace, and wonder of what God accomplishes in each and very life!
Even if you are not called into formal pastoral ministry, everyone who knows grace has the gift of offering grace! How will others know about this amazing gift of grace if we don’t tell them? God gives us His grace; He gives us a life in transition. He gives us life lived in the knowledge there is more than what we know. He gives us more than we could ever have imagined, and it belongs to me, to you, to everyone who accepts it as their own!
There are different ministries for each one in the Body of Christ, everyone! Know this as well, whatever God is calling you to do in the body, whatever He has planned for you, He is also providing the grace, the desire, and the ability. Every one has responsibility for the body.
Strong’s Concordance offers this definition of honorable: to be glorified; renowned; highly respected; held in honor; having distinguished oneself; unyielding.
In today’s lingo we might say Jabez was a man of integrity. Jabez was a man you would want to “have your back.” Jabez would have the reputation as a real man, one who was honest, one you would trust. You might even say Jabez was one that others instinctively trusted. He would be someone I’d want as a friend! As a matter of fact, I actually have several friends who fit this description. If you were to ask them, they wouldn’t know what you were talking about. That’s one of the qualities in men and women of integrity, those who are honorable, they are humble. The gifts they bring into the lives of others flow out of them as naturally as an artesian well, and are just as refreshing and life giving.
Speaking as a former Pastor, there is a need for those who will “have the Pastor’s back”. I actually experienced this physically several years ago. I had attended a meeting purely as an observer. There was a very small attendance, maybe five men, three of whom could not be described as fans of your’s truly. As it was to be an organizational meeting for a men’s ministry, I was a little surprised when it became “Let’s Shoot the Pastor”!
I sat there just a little stunned, for I was not really aware of that much animosity from the three. How do you respond in such a situation? Walk out? I just sat there dumbstruck with a surprised look on my face. Then it happened. Quietly, from across the room, he started walking until he stood right behind me! That is and was the most powerful gift of support I have ever received. I will never forget that gift, or the one who gave me that gift. The man actually had my back for all to see!
That’s how I see Jabez. When I think of Jabez, I think of the man who lived the words, “I’ve got your back!” As a Pastor, that gift goes with me into eternity. As a former Pastor, that gift goes with me into eternity. As a Man that gift goes with me into eternity.
If you’re reading this, then you are very likely one of those “artesian wells filled with God’s Grace,” and have made my life something amazing, something more than it was! Thank you all for the grace you have given and will give. Thank you for being men and women of honor and integrity, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.