14 A man will be satisfied with good
by the words of his mouth,
and the work of a man’s hands will reward him.
The Proverbs are full of examples of reaping what you sow. If you sow righteousness in words and in deeds, then you will be rewarded. If you sow idleness, which means doing nothing, then nothing will be returned unto you. If you sow strife and discontent, then strife and discontent will be returned unto you. The words that come out of one’s mouth can destroy, and there are many admonitions to guard one’s tongue. However, if you lift up the downtrodden, edify the faint, give a glass of water to the thirsty and put a coat around the cold, then your compassion will be returned unto you in your time of need. Words fitly spoken will be returned again to the speaker.
It also is fitting to point out that mankind was meant to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
~ Ecc 3:13
What one must be cautious of is that they are sharing this enjoyment with others. Over and over again, the Law stipulates to not forget the fatherless, the widow or the Levite within your gates. It is wise to consider the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man or even the Parable of the Rich Fool when tempted to hoard things to yourself. It is the opposite of having a sharing spirit.
God blesses people so that they in turn can bless others. God’s people in general understand that. I have seen the kindness of people towards others and been recipient of many a blessing, as well as having had the privilege of being the giver from time to time. This is simply a reminder to keep it up!
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The above is not instruction to be unwise with money or possessions, but simply to not set your heart upon them. It is not the principle that the prosperity preachers like to preach, either. They will tell you to give more so that you can receive more. That’s just plain foolishness. Each of us should pray that we receive more so that we can give more!
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother named him Jabez and said, “I gave birth to him in pain.”
10 Jabez called out to the God of Israel: “If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any pain.” And God granted his request.
I believe a lot of translations get this one wrong. “Jabez” is from an unused root word that probably meant grief. It sort of rhymes with the phrase “he causes pain”. How would you like to go through life being known as a pain?
As a result, it would not have been extraordinary for him to want to be blessed and kept from harm so that he causes no further pain on anyone else. That’s the sort of prayer God would honor, no?
Did he simply stop there, however? I sort of doubt it. Stopping pain is only one aspect, but one must think longer term in order to avoid pain in the future. Here is where many of our secular charitable organizations are the most powerless. They are generally incapable of doing more than providing band aids to people who need to stop the bleeding entirely and replenish what they have lost. As one who felt the pain of causing pain even to his mother, perhaps Jabez was able to do so much more than the bare minimum. Perhaps one day I’ll get the chance to ask.