When you come to fully appreciate the story of Jacob in Genesis, you see a story of how God was able to use someone who wasn’t perfect and didn’t do everything right.  One of the coolest lessons of his story is that God can use us, checkered past and all.

If we define stewardship as “caring well for what is entrusted to you,” Jacob is a slam-dunk, for at least a portion of his life.  We see in Genesis 29-31 that Jacob worked for his Uncle Laban for 20 years of his life to earn his daughters as wives (yeah, they did that sort of thing then) and a flock of his own.  Don’t tell me the Bible is dry: There was drama like you don’t even know going on at Uncle Laban’s ranch; but keep it simple and save that for another day.

While Jacob is working, we don’t hear much about it other than the fact that the first seven years “seemed to [Jacob] but a few days,” because of his love for his bride-to-be, Rachel (Gen. 29:20).  But after Jacob completes his initial 14-year work period, he requests to be released and move on with his family.  Here we begin to hear how well Jacob cared for what was entrusted to him.

Uncle Laban has become very wealthy in the last 14 years in large part because of Jacob, and he doesn’t want him to leave.  He even says “I have become wealthy, for the Lord has blessed me because of you.”  (Gen. 30:27)

Jacob replies with a big “THAT’S RIGHT, SON!”  Actual Biblical text, Gen. 30:29-30: “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care.  You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously.  The Lord has blessed you through everything I’ve done.”

We can see from their mutual agreement that Jacob cared so well for the flocks that were entrusted to him, it benefitted Uncle Laban immensely.

Through all the drama we see that Uncle Laban was a flawed and imperfect employer when he tries to cheat Jacob.   there was someone who was watching out for Jacob.  God saw Jacob’s dedication, his hard work, and his great stewardship, and intervened on Jacob’s behalf.

The fact that God saw his stewardship when the imperfect master didn’t reminded me of Ephesians 6:7-8: Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.

We should work hard and steward what we’ve been entrusted, no matter who we think is watching, because God sees how we handle what we’ve been given.  This could be your job or a work opportunity, a financial gift, a unique skill or talent, a relationship, or some other asset.

He’s watching how we use it, and he’ll reward us for the good that we do, no matter who we are.