Today's Scripture: Genesis 29:15-29 (read)
Have you ever asked, "How much of my life is spent waiting?" Waiting could be a necessary time to accomplish some project or just waiting for nature to reveal its beauty in the flowers on a sunshiny day. Often a day is filled with intervals of time that may seem fleeting or long and drawn out. Waiting can be a negative delay or a time to serve.
In Genesis 29:14-30, Jacob was given the opportunity to serve his future father-in-law for a wage. Jacob went for the prize. He hastily agreed to work for seven years for the hand of Laban's daughter, Rachel, in marriage.
Waiting wasn't always in Jacob's character. He couldn't wait for his father's blessing, so he tricked his father into giving him his brother's inheritance or blessing. "The chickens came home to roost," as the saying goes. Laban tricked Jacob and gave him Leah as his wife. So Jacob worked the delayed time of seven more years, serving Laban for Rachel.
Do you suppose Jacob put quality effort in his daily work with patience - and kindness - for seven more years?
At Christmas time, we wait, anticipate, pray and hope for something that we really think will be a blessing to us. But what should Jacob's experience teach us?
- Anticipation for positive results is reliable only when there is integrity.
- We need to be alert to new opportunities to serve, regardless of the reward.
- Every delay is an occasion for making stronger resolutions that will develop within us a spirit of gratitude, gladness and patience.
- Waiting may be the time needed for quiet meditation amidst a hurried life.
Betty Jung is author of the soon-to-be-released College: In Sickness and Health...Kaitlynn.
This 2011 Advent devotion originally appeared in the November 17 issue of Word&Way.