Jacob wanted to leave Laban’s control and start a life away from his uncle. Because Laban recognized the blessing of God upon the life of Jacob, he does not want Jacob to leave. Laban thinks that maybe God’s blessing will go when Jacob goes. Laban tells Jacob, “I have become wealthy, for the LORD has blessed me because of you. Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.” Jacob explained that he worked very hard (seven years for each wife then six more years for the flocks) and that during those two decades, Laban’s wealth also increased enormously. Jacob then gives the credit to God. “The LORD has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?” When Laban did not give his blessing for Jacob and his family to leave, Jacob left secretly. He packed up his wives, their maids, a dozen children (eleven sons and a daughter) and all he owned. The whole family headed back to the land of Jacob’s father Isaac, like God had said to do.
As a young adult, Rebecca arrived in Thailand ready to serve only to find that her team leaders had resigned. We brought Rebecca on board with our team and began to invest in her life. We were blessed by Rebecca’s friendship and by her contributions as she faithfully served her two year commitment. When the time came for her to decide her future service Rebecca chose to join a different team. We liked Rebecca; it would have been easy to want to hold on to her, or we could have let her go, but done so grudgingly. I’m glad we chose to bless her as she left and be thankful for how God matured her to go forth as a blessing to the new team that He had provided.
Laban was Jacob’s provision when Jacob needed a fresh start in life. Jacob worked hard for Laban and the time had come for him to step out on his own. This type of a relationship dynamic continues in many ways still today. May we not turn it into an unhealthy form of co-dependency, but allow for good growth, even when it means change will be involved. It is best if we do not hoard blessings (especially those that come to us in the form of people) but to allow blessings to flow. I’m so thankful that in doing so with Rebecca we maintain a joyful friendship and she continues to bless so many through the experiences God keeps giving to her.