My husband was talking to a lady from the Salvation Army the other day. She was telling him that whereas in the past most of the homeless were English, they are now nearly all Eastern Europeans. These people come to work here, lured by what seem to be wonderfully high wages. They hope to work hard, earn a small fortune, and return home with plenty of money to make life a little easier for their families and themselves. They get a job, but of course that money goes nowhere in our economy, then when they lose the job, they have few resources and no rights to any benefits, so become homeless. The Salvation Army have offered to repatriate many, but few will take up the offer. It would be such a disgrace for them to arrive back home penniless, they would sooner simply disappear.
I suspect Jacob would have felt like that. He could not return home a failure! He needed to make preparations to take his family back home to Canaan. He knew he had a blessing on his head, and he knew the responsibilities that brought with it – that he/his family would one day take possession of the promised land, and he had to be the man fit for the job.
Jacob needed to be resourceful. He knew God was his provider, but that did not mean he should not work diligently and wisely. Sitting back and waiting for it to drop in his lap would have got him nowhere. He needed to be proactive, so he worked with God to build up his wealth (Genesis 30:37-43) Listening to wisdom, and working hard.
Too many Christians separate out different parts of their lives – they go to work, and put their work head on, come home and go into relaxed mode. Then they go to church and get all spiritual. We need to be praying about our work; applying our skills into our church life, having spiritual attitudes in everything we do. A bit like the old advert for a certain chocolate bar that was supposed to help you ‘work, rest and play’! Prayer shouldn’t happen once a day (or once a week in some cases!) it should pervade every part of life – ‘praying without ceasing’.
God cares about every part of our lives, he sees us as whole people, and he wants to bless every part of our lives. We need to welcome him into every aspect of everything we do. Wherever you go, make sure you take God with you!