Name Dropping Jabez
I did not intend on posting this on my blog. I wrote it as a first attempt to fulfill the latest item on my bucket list which now contains three goals: hit a hole in one, play a round of golf under par, write a guest post for Stuff Christians Like. I realize that Jon Acuff usually has professional authors, comedians, and people whose blogs are read by more than 50 people guest posting for him, but that isn’t going to stop me from submitting sarcastic and ridiculously cynical essays to him. Well, at least until the restraining order is notarized.
There are only three acceptable ways to mention the book of Chronicles in church… Hold on a minute. I have just been informed that there are, in fact, two books of Chronicles in the Bible. I guess that proves it—they will make a sequel of just about anything… Where was I? Oh yes, three acceptable ways to mention either of the books of Chronicles in church:
1. Listing the books of the Bible. Every kid’s program in every church in the world requires memorization of the books of the Bible. Fortunately, there are 1,462 different tunes that the canon can be forced into. You may have to stretch out Sam-u-el into three syllables or say “letter to the Romans” to make it work, but you can do it. Add some hand motions and a few claps and you’ll be on the Billboard Youth Camp Top 40 before you get to that awkward pause between the Testaments. You did write in an awkward pause between the Testaments, right?
2. The ultimate challenge in a through-the-Bible-in-a-year program. The first few weeks are going to be great as you learn about creation, the flood, Abraham, and Jacob. Even the constant whining of the Israelites in the wilderness is interesting because you know it’s only a matter of time before God sets them straight with a stray earthquake or serpent. But around May, after you’ve fought through the law and heard every possible way to sacrifice a turtle dove, you’ll hit the really tough section—the genealogies in the Chronicles. Name after name. Generation after generation. It’s a good thing these people lived so long or they never would have had time to think up another phonetic atrocity to call their offspring. If Chinese water torture and the Scripps National Spelling Bee had a child, it would be the Biblical genealogies and they would name him Casluhim.
3. Jabez. Even before Bruce Wilkinson popularized Jabez’s prayer by selling nine million copies of a 96 page book (seriously, it’s shorter than that one you read skimmed for your 6th grade book report), I had learned that “Open your Bible to the book of 1 Chronicles” meant “Go to chapter four and get ready to hear about the momma-torturing, pain-causing, more-honorable-than-his-brothers, Jabez.”
So why do we love talking about this Jabez guy? Is it his rags-to-riches story? His prayer about wanting greater influence? His reliance on God? I think it’s simpler than that—mentioning Jabez proves that we know the books of Chronicles exist. Name dropping Jabez indicates that we successfully navigated the first four chapters of the gauntlet of genealogies (only five to go).
Sure, there are some great lessons we can learn from the prayer, but when you drop the J-bomb I know what you’re saying—“I finished 1 Chronicles and read it closely enough to notice one specific guy.” Well, I will too…right after I figure out how to pronounce Hazarmaveth (62 points on a double word score).
What’s the most obscure Bible passage you’ve ever heard preached from?