Friday, August 15, 2008

Following Laban

Ge 33:4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.

More people chose to follow Laban than to follow Jacob. But the ones who followed Laban got hurt, losing much of their wealth, while the ones who followed Jacob did well. Why?

There is more than one reason, but here's an important one: Jacob tried to undo the wrongs he had done. Laban never went back to Jacob to ask forgiveness for cheating him. But Jacob, although frightened, risked his life to ask Esau's forgiveness.

I have never heard of a church or a Christian school or Christian college going to someone they had wronged and asking forgiveness. Many "has-been" Christian institutions have been declining for decades, without ever trying to correct the wrongs they have done to former employees. And, in my opinion, it is better for Christians to stay away from those institutions.

But Jacob wasn't like that. He wasn't perfect, but he grew enough that he wanted to right his wrongs.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Good Thing About Laban

Ge 31:42 "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..."

Laban was a leader who was not being used or blessed by God. Motivated by a desire to control the blessings tht God had given Jacob, Laban pursued Jacob. But with victory in sight, God forbad Laban to harm Jacob.

Laban was afraid to wrongly harm a servant of God. When I taught Christian school, I would see parents with money get teachers fired for making their children behave. The school would often wait until the end of the school year to tell the teacher he or she was not coming back next year, cutting the teacher off with no support.

And I saw three other things. In every case I know of, with no exceptions, the teachers did all right. And the Christian schools, for a variety of reasons, eventually shut down. And the church went through a downward spiral that lasted for years.

No exceptions.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Being a Leader?

Ge 31:22 And Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled.
23 Then he took his brethren with him and pursued him for seven days' journey, and he overtook him in the mountains of Gilead.

Laban was a leader. In his conflict with Jacob, Laban was able to get his brethren to take his side. Jacob, meanwhile, couldn't get any of his brethren (except for his wives and children) to side with him.

Yes, Laban was a leader. But God wasn't blessing him. His success as a leader was partly the result of his ability to inspire jealousy of Jacob and partly the result of his ability to exploit greed.

In fact, there is only one good thing that can be said about Laban as a leader...