Have you ever, in your place of work, befriended a bright young thing who has just started to work at your place. You show them the ropes, teach them all you know, and suddenly you find they’ve been promoted above you! They have just what the company is looking for, and definitely on the up! I bet Laban’s sons felt a bit like that. They’d taken Jacob in, helped him settle on the job, and now he was succeeding far more than them. And I can just see Laban commenting about their comparative underachievement, and really setting the cat amongst the pigeons. And anyway it wasn’t fair! Jacob had a blessing on his life that gave him more than a little advantage. No wonder they were peeved and started some nasty rumours about him (Genesis 31:1).
As kids of the King, we have a distinct advantage in our workplace (and for that matter any place we go). So long as we are in the right place, where God has put us, his blessing upon us should be evident. As we pray for his help in our work, we should be achieving more. As happened with Jacob, there is a possibility that others might get jealous, which has it’s complications.
And sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just don’t go well. In work, in church, in our relationships with others or some other context, we sometimes do not see the evidence of the blessing that God has promised us. The only compensation I can offer, is that difficulties like these make us more attentive to the voice of God. We certainly are more motivated to dig into him, and try to work out how to take life forward.
For Jacob, the problems signalled the beginning of the end of his time in that place. God gave him the word to move on, and go back home. And the assurance – “And I will be with you.”
So when life gets bumpy, it’s not that we’ve lost the blessing, and it’s not that God has left us. He sees, he hears, he understands. It’s just time to listen up – I’ve a hunch he’s about to speak.