Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rachel - She Works Hard For the Money

Genesis 29:1-9 Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples. There he saw a well in the field, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well. The stone over the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well's mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well. Jacob asked the shepherds, "My brothers, where are you from?" "We're from Haran," they replied. He said to them, "Do you know Laban, Nahor's grandson?" "Yes, we know him," they answered. Then Jacob asked them, "Is he well?" "Yes, he is," they said, "and here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep." "Look," he said, "the sun is still high; it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. Water the sheep and take them back to pasture." "We can't," they replied, "until all the flocks are gathered and the stone has been rolled away from the mouth of the well. Then we will water the sheep." While he was still talking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess.

This is our first introduction to Rachel. When someone mentions anything about being a shepherd and they talk about the Bible - my answer is either going to be Jesus (The Great Shepherd) and David. But never Rachel. The job of shepherd(ess) is certainly not one of movie star status. It's smelly, it's dirty, it's hard work and it's dangerous. Sheep, in these times, were a form of income. Someone steals your sheep, it's just like stealing profit out of your pocket. A young girl in charge of a flock - I would think - would be easy prey for a thief.

These verses give us a little insight into what's involved in caring for the sheep. They all have to be gathered and taken to the well. Sometimes I can't get my kids to lay down for bed - they have to get a whole flock to the top of a hill. Once at the well, the stone has to be removed, which means Rachel had to make sure she got there at the same time as those other shepherds so they can move the stone away from the top - because she certainly couldn't do it by herself.

Rachel didn't get paid for this - it was part of her chores - something her dad required of her as she lived at home. And she did it. Such a great look at being obedient. A hard and dangerous job - not done for glory, not done for money, not done for advancement - only for the love of the one in authority over her. We should be the same way. When God gives us a hard job to do - don't do it for the glory or the money or advancement - do it because you love God and appreciate the gift He's already given us.

3 wonderful insights:

Kay Martin said...

Good point...again. One of my friends is a retired reg.nurse and she and her husband have 50 sheep on a farm. She was telling me yesterday that when one of her ewes is close to delivery she doesn't leave home. When they have multiple lambs...sometimes 4; she must help the mother and the lambs. This usually takes over 7 hours of concentrated work.

Having just had this conversation yesterday I was most blessd by your post.

sailorcross said...

Oh, we're going to do Rachel!!

Whenever I think of a shepherd (or in this case a shepherdess), I am reminded of the 23rd Psalm--thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

I have the image in my mind of God being my shepherd--the U-shaped rod that the shepherds used--the straight portion to guide the sheep along and the U-shape at the end to grasp the sheep and pull them back from danger.

I like how you pointed out that we should do our work (any work--housework, our jobs, anything we do at all) for God's glory and not so we can bask in the achievement.

All of our accomplishments should be directed back to our Lord for He is the one who has given us the gifts, talents, strength and power to achieve these tasks.

Beth

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Great insights! I cannot even imagine being in her shoes. Very well put.
Much love,
Angela