Monday, July 05, 2010


I've lost count of the number of bosses I've worked for over the years. I was only sixteen when I got my first REAL job, and my twenty-something boss spent the first two weeks flirting with me mercilessly. I've worked for good bosses and bad bosses – the definition of which I assign mostly by the condition of the work environment. A good boss encourages camaraderie between employees, so that a sense of justice and security can emerge in the workplace. A bad boss keeps his/her workers continually on edge, watching like a hawk for the next mistake or opportunity for blame. While working for a good boss, I've been encouraged, complimented, challenged to learn new things. My “bad boss” experiences have left me feeling defeated, worthless and questioning my abilities. So why all the talk about little greasy-haired dweebs in polyester suits? (Sorry, couldn't resist the stereotyping) Well, because Laban was sort of Jacob's boss, and he was a lousy master. But it occurred to me that the way Jacob reacted to his bad-boss, Laban, is similar to the way I react to God sometimes. So I had to ask myself, do I envision God as a good Boss or a bad Boss? Hmmmm…

Gen. 30:25-26 – “After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, 'Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. 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.'”
  • SERVANT RATHER THAN SON – Jacob requested his freedom as if he were an indentured servant – not a son. He'd evidently never felt a part of Laban's family even after marrying both Laban's daughters over fourteen years prior. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become children of God – but do we truly feel/act like children, or do we still feel/act like servants? A servant MUST work and hopes to be released from duty after a time. A family member never “retires” from the family.
Gen. 30:27-33 – “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.' He added, 'Name your wages, and I will pay them.' Jacob said to him, 'You know how I have worked for you and how your livestock has fared under my care. 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?' '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: 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. 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.'” (emphasis added)
  • WORK RATHER THAN GIFTS – Jacob refuses to allow Laban to GIVE him anything. He shuns Laban's gift because of past baggage, and instead, Jacob bargains for more work, thinking he has a fool-proof way to earn his freedom. To shun a deceiver's gift is wise; however, sometimes we shun God's gracious gifts in order to feel as though we've earned His pleasure or approval. Working FOR God is not only unnecessary, it's counter-productive to our faith in a gracious God.
Gen. 30:34-43 – “'Agreed,' said Laban. 'Let it be as you have said.' 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. Then he put a three-day journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to tend the rest of Laban's flocks. Jacob, however, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban's animals. Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches, but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob. In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys.”
  • SILENCE RATHER THAN CONFRONTATION – Rather than confronting Laban when he was cheated again, Jacob followed old wives' tales and tried to solve the problem using his own methods. When we have been repeatedly disappointed, we sometimes become angry or disillusioned and even blame God. Though the LORD never cheats us or deals with us dishonestly, when we seek our own solutions and refuse to ask for God's help, it's similar to Jacob's silent treatment.
Lord, teach me to voice my disappointments and confusion to You, no matter how upset or confused I might be – with You or others. Remind me that in EVERY WAY, You are more than a good Boss – You are a loving Father, who wants the very best for me. Every circumstance you allow into my life is fashioned to strengthen, teach and shape me into the image of Jesus Christ.

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