"So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob." - Genesis 30:42
Near my home is a billboard that promises rich wages for working from home. Advertisements like that can be appealing because most of us want to find easier ways to make an income.
Laban knows that Jacob has helped him to grow prosperous. So he convinces his nephew to stay and work a while longer, and Jacob comes up with a cunning way to calculate his wages. He asks Laban for the speckled and spotted sheep of his flocks, and these were likely thought of as the smaller and weaker ones. This seems innocent enough, but apparently Jacob has also devised a way to build up a larger, stronger herd through unusual breeding practices.
In a sense, Jacob is a resourceful businessman with a diligent work ethic. But his story also reveals a tension to which many believers are prone when they pursue success by worldly standards. Though Jacob acknowledges that blessing comes as a gift from God (v. 30), his behavior suggests that he believes he also needs to manipulate his way into God's blessing.
There is no "get rich quick" scheme in God's plan—for Jacob or for us. But we do have the gift of God's unmerited favor in Christ, which leads us to do our work "for the Lord, not for human masters" (Colossians 3:23-24). May Jesus' finished work inspire you to faithful service for God and others in the coming week.
Lord, you have provided all that we need for life and salvation. Help us to rest in your grace as we serve you and others. Amen.