The Affect of Love on Labor
Have you ever heard the expression "time flies when you're having fun?" When a person is not enjoying himself, it often seems as though time actually slows down. While time doesn't really slow down, the unfortunate person feels this way because, at that moment, he is more aware of time, and he is usually waiting for whatever detestable activity in which he is involved to be completed. Just as a watched pot never seems to boil, a watched clock never seems to advance. On the other hand, when one is enjoying himself in some activity, it is not uncommon for that person to lose track of time and discover that hours have passed in what seemed like minutes. The key is one's attitude, and the Old Testament provides us with a great example of a man with a positive attitude during years of labor.

In Genesis 29, we read of Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, who journeyed to "the land of the people of the East" in order to escape the fury of his brother Esau and to take a wife from the daughters of his uncle Laban in Haran. At the end of his journey, Jacob met Rachel, Laban's younger daughter, as well as Laban himself. Jacob stayed with Laban and served him for a month, at the end of which Laban said to Jacob, "Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?" (Gen. 29:15). In verse 18 of that same chapter we read, "Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, 'I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.'" The affect of Jacob's love for Rachel on his seven years of labor is easily seen and clearly described in verse 20 where we read: "So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her."

Scripture describes the seven years as passing quickly for Jacob. Truly, time seemed to fly! However, it was not time that was altered; rather, it was Jacob's attitude that was altered. Jacob's attitude toward his work was altered because...

Jacob's goal was to take Rachel as his wife, and this was no trivial goal for Jacob. We know this because...

Look again at the first part of Genesis 29:18: "Now Jacob loved Rachel..." This is the most important part of the equation. Not only did Jacob have a goal, he loved his goal! It was because Jacob loved his goal that...

Let us now consider the rest of verse 18: "Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, 'I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.'" Because of his love for Rachel, Jacob committed himself to his goal and...

Now, let us turn our attention to Genesis 29:20: "So Jacob served seven years for Rachel..." Because of Jacob's love for Rachel (his goal) he committed himself to her and worked to obtain her hand in marriage.

The linchpin throughout those seven years was Jacob's love for Rachel, his goal. It was "because of the love he had for her" that he committed to serve Laban for seven years. It was "because of the love he had for her" that he fulfilled his commitment to Laban. It was "because of the love he had for her" that the seven years of labor "seemed [like] only a few days to him" . When one loves the reason for his labor, he will not mind the labor.

Friends, can we say the same thing regarding our love for the Lord? Is loving God with all of our being (Matt. 22:37,38), keeping His commandments faithfully (Eccl. 12:13), and receiving the crown of life (Rev. 2:10) our greatest goal in life? If it is, has our love prompted us to commit ourselves to this goal, and are we willing to give a lifetime of faithful service to obtain this goal? I hope so, for "the labor of the righteous leads to life" (Prov. 10:16). Those who truly love God should realize that serving Him and keeping His commandments is like serving and obeying a loving parent--not an overbearing taskmaster. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:3).