In the book of First Chronicles, there’s a short mention of a man named Jabez. We read that “Jabez called upon the 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 harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God granted what he asked” (1 Chronicles 4:10).
Proponents of what is called the Prosperity or Health-and-Wealth Gospel might point to this and say, “See? All Jabez had to do was name it and claim it, and God gave it to him!” The problem is that even though the Lord did bless Jabez in this way, it doesn’t promise us that if we pray like Jabez, the Lord will bless us accordingly.
One thing we should see in this verse is God’s sovereignty. He had the ability to enlarge Jabez’s border, and if it is God’s will, He can cause us also to prosper financially. But that’s not a promise that’s given to every believer.
Here is what’s promised to every believer: we will “meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2), be hated and persecuted by the world (John 15:18-21), and experience “sufferings” (Romans 5:3).
For many of us, we are indeed blessed with material wealth and relative prosperity in comparison to most of the world. And we should certainly be grateful to God for these many blessings and zealous to bless others with the gifts we’ve been given. But that’s not the prosperity that Christians should treasure.
There is a true prosperity in the gospel. But it isn’t found in material wealth and property. It’s found in Christ. Jesus is our treasure, and our cups overfloweth. The poorest man on earth who has Christ is among the richest of men.
Oh, Lord, increase our borders of our knowledge of You. Help us to know you more! If You should take away all our money and property, You are more than enough. You are our Prosperity.
1 Chronicles 4