Genesis 29: 15-28
This is one of those continuing sagas the common lectionary likes to cut in sections to make preaching harder. A broader scope of reading—to the end of Chapter 31—reveals that, after a lot of sleeping around, Jacob’s brood increases and he eventually does a number on Laban. Man on the run … again.
In this section, though, we are told Jacob served for seven years to get the woman he wanted. Ultimately, it was a two-for-one special, courtesy of Laban. Of course, when all was said and done, Jacob exhausted 14 years to get Rachel. You know the rest of the story.
Overwhelmed church members can feel as if they are constantly on the run from something. It’s easy to see how seven years can suddenly turn into 14. Before the person knows it, she has become an “empty-nester.” Or his eyes or heart or kidneys begin to fail.
“What happened to life?” is a common question. Many have no set of principles from which to live. More than a few will sleep with Leah, Rachel, and whomever because they can’t stand the thought of seven years turning into fourteen.
The real question is: Are you willing to stand with them as the decades go by?
As you know, the window to the soap opera of sins is part and parcel of every pastorate. You choose how and when to draw the blinds on the window, curl up at home, and hide. Just don’t hide too long, or you may find that you are the fugitive.
Have a little grace for the congregant on the run. As the years double, it can be gratifying to be the witness—the one that stands and points to the sacred and says, “Take heart: The kingdom of heaven is like __________....”
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