As husbands, one of the greatest gifts we husbands can give our families is security. Research shows that the need for security is the number one core human need. The way we give our families security is to be their provider and protector. If they can trust us to provide for and protect them their sense of security will be strong. But if not they will be opened up to a whirlwind of problems.
Fortunately, we have the Bible as our guide to help us become better at our job. In the following story Jacob worked for his father-in-law Laban for 20 years. Although Laban grew increasingly wealthy while his business was under Jacob’s watchful eye, he mistreated and took advantage of Jacob on numerous occasions. In time Jacob finally left his job to start his own thing, leading to a sharp dispute between the two men.
It was during this exchange that Jacob outlines for us exactly what we can do to be ninja-assassin providers for our families. Here’s what he said:
Genesis 31:38-42 – (38) “These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young, and I have not eaten the rams of your flock. (39) That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it. You required it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. (40) There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes. (41) Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. (42) Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”
I love this picture. What Jacob says is a blueprint for how we should be as workers:
1) He cared about his work (vs 38a) “For twenty years I have been with you, caring for your flocks ….” – Jacob actually took as good of care for his boss’s flocks as he would his own.
2) He did a good job (vs 38b) “…. In all that time your sheep and goats never miscarried ….” – He was so good at his job he made sure there were no mistakes made.
3) He didn’t take advantage of his position (vs 38c) “In all those years I never used a single ram of yours for food.” – Even though he was in the livestock business he paid for his own food!
4) He took personal responsibility for any losses (vs 39) “If any were attacked and killed by wild animals …… I took the loss myself ….” – He didn’t shift the blame on his helpers or ask his boss to take the hit. He always took the hit himself.
5) He worked hard and didn’t complain (vs 40) “I worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights.” – Laban never knew how difficult it was on Jacob because Jacob locked down his job and didn’t shift the headache to Laban.
6) He never asked for handouts (vs 41) “I worked fourteen years for your daughters and six more years for your flock.” – he earned his keep and didn’t ask for any handouts.
7) He partnered with God (vs 42) “…. if the God of my father had not been on my side ….” – this is the most important attribute of all – Jacob saw God as his partner in business.
Jacob’s reward for being this type of a worker? Genesis 32:10 – “I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps!” BAM!
If we work like Jacob we’ll be blessed like him and we’ll be the provider God calls us to be for our families. The wealth of Jacob doesn’t come without the work of Jacob. And what greater wealth is there than a wife and kids who fully trust us to be their provider?
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