25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. 26 Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. You know how much work I’ve done for you.”
27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” 28 He added, “Name your wages, and I will pay them.”
29 Jacob said to him, “You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock has fared under my care. 30 The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I have been. But now, when may I do something for my own household?”
31 “What shall I give you?” he asked.
“Don’t give me anything,” Jacob replied. “But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and watching over them: 32 Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages.33 And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored, will be considered stolen.”
34 “Agreed,” said Laban. “Let it be as you have said.” 35 That same day he removed all the male goats that were streaked or spotted, and all the speckled or spotted female goats (all that had white on them) and all the dark-colored lambs,and he placed them in the care of his sons. 36 Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban’s flocks.
Jacob was a patriarch that is remembered for the creation of the 12 tribes of Israel. However, what we often forget about Jacob is that like Abraham, he was a man of great dignity and faith. He honored the Lord with everything that he had and the Lord blessed him for it. He was the quintessential demonstrator of Jesus’ saying,
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (Luke 16:10)
While we are not longer being paid in goats and lambs, it is important to recognize that we are blessed with must. Especially those of us who live in developed countries where we have everything we need in short reach. We often say that we want more resources because it’s the human nature, but are we cultivating an attitude that treats our blessings with honor towards God? Are we recognizing that what we have is because God has blessed us?
[Featured image painted by Pietro Berrettini da Cortona, titled “The Alliance of Jacob and Laban”]