Earlier this week, I revisited "Tao Te Ching" by Lao-tzu (Laozi). From there, I listened to two audio books: "The Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho and "The Art of Peace" by Morihei Ueshiba." I won't bore you all with the history I have with "Tao Te Ching", but I will say that it set me on an ongoing quest for a greater knowledge of and relationship with Yahweh, Creator of the Way. This quest resides outside of religion, denomination, tradition, race, culture, country, and all the ways mankind has used to divide mankind, destroy mankind and defend evil. Ultimately, I was led to Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. For Christ is the portal to the One True God, Yahweh.
All week, "capacities" has been on my mind. Inspired by the aforementioned books, I decided that I would work on not being judgmental toward anyone or any situation, but to be better about understanding the underlying issues and drivers of certain behaviors and actions in people. Even while dying on the cross, Jesus said "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." With that being said, I'm hearing DJ Jubilee in my mind more often, saying, "Stop! Paaaause......." as I come across things upon which I'd normally place baseless judgment.
In order to put such judgment out of practice, I've prayed that Yahweh increase the capacity of my heart to hold more love and compassion; that He increase the capacity of my spirit to discern more and discern more quickly; that He increase the capacity of my mind to hold more peace and understanding. It is my belief that increased capacities of such things will only help us all at being better human beings toward on another, even if you don't believe as I believe. You don't have to believe in any god to know right from wrong, good from evil, and love from hate. You don't have to believe, as I believe, to simply want to know more than what schools, churches, and your families teach or have taught. For all knowledge we have gained thus far, is partial. Learning and growth is eternal.
This morning, as I am compelled to put something in writing, concerning my thoughts on "capacities", 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 comes to mind. How many of you remember the trend/craze, surrounding the "Prayer of Jabez." Bruce Wilkinson wrote a book about it, but it is not his book I want to talk about. Back when this trend was the thing to be about, in the Christian world, every person I spoke to, who practiced this principal of prayer and faith, did so in hopes of some material or monetary gain. So did I. These were the territories we wanted increased. These are the territories for which pastors encouraged that we pray, tithe, and give everything.
This is the New International Version of the Prayer of Jabez: "Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested." This is the only mentioning of Jabez in the Bible, and there is no context to provide us with what Yahweh actually granted Jabez.
Imagine the territories which Yahweh desires to increase in us having nothing to do with money, land, and material things. His very Word, Jesus Christ, whom Christians claim to follow and live by, said to us "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19)." Then, He tells us of the Greatest Commandments of them all: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matthew 22:37-40)." Increasing our capacities for Love and truly allowing it to live in us would make a huge difference in the World. Think about it. In the Love of Christ, there is no hatred, no racism, no sexism, no abuse, and no form of evil. Therefore, in it, there is no justification for shooting black men down in the streets for simply being black. There is no justification for separating children from their parents, housing them (and even killing them) in cages. There is no justification for any form of violence against any human being, simply because they are different. There is certainly no justification for pastors corrupting and pimping out the Word of Yahweh to mislead congregations, gaining wealth off of the feeble-minded (and have the nerve to hate on the Pharisees). And pretty much all perpetrators of such heinous crimes are painted as "good Christian folk." I've digressed a little. Forgive me.
Let's just say that the territories over which Jabez prayed were actually capacities within his own being, to become even more honorable, to be able to house more of Yahweh's presence and Spirit, to be even more favored by the Most High, and to be even more likely to cause no pain to anyone. Now imagine all those who faithfully prayed Jabez's prayer in 2000, 2001, 2002 and so on, praying that the territories of their hearts, minds, souls, and spirits were increased to house and hold more of Yahweh and His Spirit. Imagine the difference in our communities if we were as faithful to such a prayer as we are to our selfish opinions, our money, our races, our prejudices, and even our lacks of education. Yes, many are more loyal to their ignorance than they are to the Jesus they claim to know, love, and serve.
Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge the capacities of my heart, mind, spirit and soul, to hold more of Your Love, Lord Yahweh; that Your hand would ever be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain or any ill to anyone! Amen!
Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.......