Jacob and Rachel: Are We Willing to Work 14 Years or More for Those We Love?
This week, I've had the opportunity to study more wonderful chapters in Genesis. Again, there are numerous principles of obedience and righteousness one can learn from a personal study of the Old Testament. One of my favorite stories related to this week's reading is found in Genesis 29.
Here, Jacob, son of Isaac, arrives in the land of his mother's family, after Rebekah urges him to choose a wife from Laban's (his uncle's) daughters. Laban welcomes him, and Jacob falls deeply in love with his daughter, Rachel. He says to Laban, "I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter". His uncle agrees, "and Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him a few days, for the love he had to her."
When I read this, I sighed. I loved Jacob's devotion to her. Afterward, Laban sneakily gives Leah to him instead of Rachel, despite their original agreement. Jacob easily could have said, "I've already served seven years for her, another seven would be too much", and given up. But, he didn't! He labors yet another seven years for her hand in marriage, totaling fourteen years.
This story, while it is a nice one, can teach us a profound lesson of the type of devotion we should have for people we love, including the Lord. Are we willing to work fourteen years, or more, for those we love and have committed to? Are we willing to literally give our whole might, mind, heart, body, and soul to fulfill the oaths we make to ourselves, the Lord, and others? Food for thought.
The part that makes this so wonderful is the fact that Jacob's labor and desire were fueled by genuine love. We should want to remain worthy to enter the temple because we love being there and couldn't live without its influence in our lives. We should be kind and honest with our friends and family members because we love them. We should serve in our callings because we love the fact that we have been called to serve in the Lord's kingdom. We should read our scriptures because we love the Lord and want to draw closer to Him through His word.
Everything should be fueled by love, and as we get closer to God we begin to find that our intentions become filled with love and pure intent. Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy is one text that exemplifies this truth. Dante goes through several circles of Hell, up Mount Purgatory and through the vast layers of Heaven until He reaches the presence of God, where all is still and glorious. Dante ends this epic with these words: "...as a wheel moves smoothly, free from jars, my will and my desire were turned by love, the love that moves the sun and the other stars...".
Let our love be turned by the supreme source of all love: our Heavenly Father, and, of course, our Savior. The closer we get to Them, the better we learn to do things with love and devotion, just as Jacob did.