Summary: Couples, Pt. 4
THE LABOR OF LOVE (GENESIS 29:9-35)
One of the best quotes on love I know of comes from Liz Carpenter. She said, “Love is a moment and a lifetime. It is looking at him across a room and feeling that if I don’t send the rest of my life with him, I’ll have missed the boat.”
More than 66% of adults believe that every person has a perfect match, the perfect Mr. or Ms. Right. The most optimistic groups are those from 18-24 and from 25-34. 85% of those below 25 believe the perfect mate is out there waiting for him or her and a high 71% of those in the 25-34 bracket agrees that there is someone out there who matches him or her perfectly.
For those who have been fully impacted by the middle age crisis, the 35-44 age group, the romantic notion dips to 60%. However, it regains momentum in the next two age brackets – 67% of those between 45-54 and 63% among those 55-64 still maintain there is a perfect match for every man and woman.
Everything is downhill when you are over 64. Still, 60% of those 65-74 believes in the perfect match theory but only 53% of those over 75 believe so. (“Is there a Mr. or Ms. Perfect?” USA Today 2/14/95)
One of the most bizarre and fascinating but also the most admirable romance in the Bible is the love of Jacob for his wife Rachel. It is a marriage that triumphed in spite of the odds stacked against it. For all his faults, Jacob survived his meddling in-laws, an unexpected third party and the infamous seven-year itch. Most people can only sigh at the depth and the determination of Jacob’s unconditional love for Rachel.
So what is love? Is it an aphrodisiac? Is it magic? Is it an obsession? Is it dependable or is it merely desire? What helps love and what hinders it?
Love is a Conduct, Not a Conquest
9 While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud. 12 He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. So she ran and told her father. 13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things. 14 Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood.” After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.” (Gen 29:9-15)
A nice girl brings home her fiancé to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother tells her father to find out about the young man. He invites the fiancé to his study for a chat. “So, what are your plans?” the father asks the fiancé. “I am a biblical scholar,” he replies.
“A biblical scholar. Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in, as she’s accustomed to?” “I will study,” the young man replies, “...and God will provide for us.”
“And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?”
“I will concentrate on my studies, God will provide for us.”
“And children? How will you support children?” “Don’t worry, sir, God will provide.”
The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father questions, the fiancé insists that God will provide. Later, the mother asks, “So? How did it go?” “He has no job and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I’m God.”
Love is a powerful stimulant for change, but it is not a permanent prescription for change. Falling in love doesn’t pay the bills of a debtor, do the homework of a procrastinator or break the chokehold of a habit. No love potion can remedy a spineless, boneless or clueless person. However, love will always lend a helping hand, to inspire and change a willing and motivated person.
The education of Jacob began when he changed from lazy bum and life support to hard worker. Before this incident, Jacob was the little emperor at home in Canaan. He came from money even if had yet to get any, but he really didn’t have much of a life outside of the home nor did he have to lift a finger at home; so he was the little brat who became the master of the house, spending his time picking on, toying with and scoring against his no-brainer of a brother, Esau. His brother’s vow to kill him (Gen 27:41) when Jacob deceived him of his birthright forced him to leave home and sent him hurtling across the desert to his mother’s ancestral homeland, where he found a different and uneven kind of match in his uncle Laban, who is the brother of Jacob’s mother (Gen 27:43). Jacob the smooth-skin (Gen 27:11), homely Mama’s boy grew of age without home, money and security in his new environment.