A world without Saddam Hussein and Yasar Arafat in power . . . today’s burial of Arafat with dirt from Jerusalem. Iraq. Land squabbles. Serious issues. But for this weekend, here’s some comic relief from Shabez, a neighbor of Jabez.
Tamara Jaffe-Notier wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece for The Door magazine about Shabez, a fictitious next door neighbor of Jabez, whose land was expanding into Shabez’s property.
Here’s an excerpt from Shabez’s prayer:
Lord, would you please clue me in on your definition of evil? I know that You have ‘kept Jabez from evil’ but he’s such a shlub! He’s got all the water rights for a couple days’ journey in every direction, and he charges me 15 sheep a year just to let my flocks use the springs and wells. OK, maybe that’s not evil, but it’s not very nice either. Another thing— I’ve really had it with this ‘enlarging his territory’ thing.
Don’t get me wrong . . . I liked Bruce Wilkerson before Wilkerson was cool. No offense to Jabez, either. The impact of Wilkerson’s earlier Walk Through the Old Testament materials has been greater on me than The Prayer of Jabez. (I did walk through the Bible in Africa and translated the words and signs, with the help of local people, into the Lusoga language.) Because when we walk through the Old Testament, the focus is not on Jabez–it’s not even on Adam, Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets. It’s about how all of them, like us, come to a fuller understanding of who the God is Israel truly is. The story, the Bible, is about God’s creative and relationship-seeking life come down in pursuit of humans.