Imagine that you just entered into a 3-star hotel, and the receptionist stood up with a smile and said to you, “How do you do today? Please have your seat.
I will have your cocktail brought to you”. Before you say a word, she says again, “Oh, it is complimentary. We hope you enjoy your stay here”.
I would be shocked if I were you, and might even ask if there is going to be an unexpected increase in the fees per night. That receptionist could just have been Rebekah, the lady who served Abraham’s servant and his camels drinking water without considering who he was or his pedigree. Her heart was pure and receptive. The only difference between these two would have been that the receptionist was doing her job while Rebekah was diplomatically humane. She saw that the man she had served wanted more from her but could not place what he wanted exactly, so she led him to her elder brother, Laban.
Let me share one thing that beats my imagination with you. Laban received Abraham’s instructions with rapt attention and enthusiasm without mincing words. Why then did he not grant Jacob’s request after the young man met his requirements? Could he be because he desperately wanted to hands-off Rebekah’s responsibilities or because he saw the wealth and affluence the servant displayed and wanted some part of it?
Scriptures recorded that he gazed at the jewelry on Rebekah’s arm and quickly offered the servant a place to stay. He made a fast decision that favored Abraham’s family, but he made Jacob serve him for 14 years before granting his heart desire. He was a very supportive brother and a highly manipulative father-in-law. Just as Abraham is the father of faith, Laban was the father of greed. Do you know that he did not wake up one day to become selfish; that greed matured in his heart as he grew? That is why we must take extreme care to tame the Laban mindset in our children, and I hope you will permit me to show you how in these three nuggets.
1. The Difference Between Excitement and Covetousness
When our children show some level of excitement at something they want to have, but one that we cannot afford, we adjust our minds to let them have the feeling of having it. We think this is harmless, but it is not. The moment that excitement becomes a gaze, the seed of greed has found fertile ground in that child’s mind, and every seed matures except you stop watering it. That is why the Children Church is a vital ministry because there is not enough that parents and guardians can do on their own to instill the right attitude in children.
As adults, keeping our attitude in check can sometimes be as hard as herding dinosaurs, but with the word of God being our guide, we can learn to train ourselves to act with wisdom. Laban and Rebekah were both raised in the same family, yet Rebekah tamed her excitement at the sight of the expensive Jewelry Abraham’s servant placed on her arm. She led the strangers to her brother- the only father figure she had and allowed him to have a say as was customary at the time. She displayed an act of courtesy and nobility. Laban, her brother, on the other hand, could not hide his pleasure at the sight of the jewels. Something tells me that if Rebekah had not agreed to go with Abraham’s servant, he might have coaxed her. There is a thin line between excitement and covetousness, and we must be careful not to encourage our children to cross it. The onus lies on the church to direct parents and teach the children about having the right attitude.
2. Letting Go is Not a Weakness
A lot of us believe that letting go means that we are weak, but we are growing to understand that holding onto something that no longer belongs to you will only make you feeble-minded. Laban made a promise he had no intention of keeping. He knew Jacob was in love with his daughter Rachael, but he wanted Leah to get married first, and he made a calculated move to thrust the poor young woman on a man who did not have any liking towards her. Her opinion did not count for him. As far as he was concerned, he was doing her a favor.
He made Jacob work for an extra seven years before giving him the woman he desired in the first place. Even after 14 years of enslaving his son-in-law, he still wanted him to work for a parting gift. How difficult could it be to let Jacob go without trying to be more manipulative? Laban was greedy to the extent that he wanted to be in control of Jacob’s new family and wealth.
Everyone tends to want to be in control, but thank God for the Bible that continually teaches us to control her hearts and ultimately tame our tongues. When greed takes over a man, having self-control becomes nearly impossible. Every child must learn to know when to let go in every situation. Letting go is an art. Walking away from certain circumstances is a forward step because sometimes there are things in our lives that are temporary. Accept what you have now, and let go of what was never yours in the first place.
3. You Cannot Trick the Mind of God
Laban knew that God blessed him because of Jacob’s presence, so he asked him to continue to stay and manage his flocks, with the promise that Jacob could name his wages. That was a juicy offer, but Jacob did the unimaginable. He proposed a solution that would benefit both of them but will be highly impossible to cheat on.
Laban forgot that ultimate wisdom comes from God. The mind of man is full of tricks; only a man who understands the mind of God can access His Wisdom. Jacob was patient with Laban because he was operating with the mind of God. The flesh in Jacob would have reacted to everything Laban was doing to him, but the spirit of God that was at work in him kept his flesh at bay. In the end, it was a win situation for the son-in-law.
God is always with His children. Our children must learn this and grow with it. We must teach them to seek to understand the nature of God so that they can know how to combat every Laban mindset whenever they encounter it. Today’s world revolves around technology; therefore, the Children ministry of every church needs to leverage this to help our children learn more about growing to have the right mindset. I strongly recommend ChurchPad’s Check-in product.