Jacob’s Flocks Increase

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.”

Today’s financial stewardship verses deal with work and compensation. Jacob has been working for Laban for roughly fourteen years. Jacob and Laban had agreed that Jacob would marry Laban’s younger daughter Rachel provided that Jacob worked for Laban for seven years. At the end of the seven years, Jacob thought he was marrying Rachel. However, Laban tricked Jacob and had Leah, Laban’s older daughter, marry Jacob. Jacob did not realize whom he had married until the following morning.

Laban told Jacob that it was their custom for the oldest daughter to marry first. Laban made another deal with Jacob and told him that in a week’s time he could also marry Rachel. However, Jacob had to work another seven years. Again, Jacob agreed. In the above verses, the fourteen years have passed. Jacob now wants to take what he is owed and leave Laban and return to his homeland.

Laban knows that he should pay Jacob for his work. The Lord has blessed Laban and his livestock has vastly increased. Laban wants this blessing to continue, which is why he asks Jacob to stay. He offers to pay the wages that Jacob names. However, Jacob has come to know that Laban is not a man of his word. Therefore, he sets his own terms by telling Laban not to give him anything, but only to let him have the spotted, speckled, and dark sheep and goats. Laban agrees. Jacob later on figures a way for the spotted, speckled and dark sheep and goats to grow in number.

Jacob worked hard for Laban to achieve his goal. However, Laban was dishonest with Jacob. Business owners often think only of their own goals and profits and forget about their employees and customers. In order to achieve favor with God, we must remember to be honest in our daily dealings, whether we are a customer, an employee, or an employer. No one wants to be cheated. If you are accidentally not charged for an item at the store, go back and pay for it. If the cashier gives you back too much change, return the money. Otherwise, you are stealing. By the same token, business owners should not try and cheat their customers or clients. Offer your clients and customers the best deals that you can. Your honesty will be rewarded because your customers and clients will know they can trust you. Be a person of your word. Do not go back on your word.

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