Reading: Genesis 29: 15-28
Verse 20: Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
Jacob came to work for Laban after fleeing from home. Jacob was his sister’s son, so Laban took him in. After a month, Laban was coming to appreciate Jacob’s work, so he asks Jacob what he would like in exchange for his efforts. Jacob has fallen in love with the beautiful Rachel so he names her as his desire and offers to work for seven years for her hand in marriage. As I think about his offer, it seems like a long time. Rarely does a dating relationship last longer than a few years unless marriage is the plan. In such cases, people date for a while, consider and talk of marriage, and then set the date. For most with marriage on the mind, they will cut it off and move on pretty quickly if the other is not “the one”.
Extending the idea of working for seven years, what would one be willing to work for for seven years? If I had my mind on a new car, for example, would I be willing to work for seven years, saving a little each month, until I had enough money to buy that car? In a job, would I be willing to work for seven years to make that next step up the chain of command or to earn that first raise? Yet in the context of today’s story, these things are small targets or goals. When our thoughts move outside the concrete, there are many things we work much longer than seven years for. When we do so, these are the things that really matter in life.
I look at my marriage and see something that I am still willing to work hard for. I look at my college-age and post-college children and see many years of raising them and am still very dedicated to working at raising them. And then I turn to my faith. At 51, this is a journey longer than any other in my life, yet I still continue to seek to draw closer to God. Looking back, I can see how my relationship has grown and deepened. Seven years seems like a small blip on the timeline. In this sense, I can relate to Jacob. Seven years “seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her”. May our love for God ever be the same.