Prayer: Loving God, where would we be if it were not for your divine hand plucking us out of the mire we get ourselves into much too often? Help us to be honest with ourselves, so that the choices we make in life reflect the way of Christ, rather than our selfish, personal desires. Amen.
Reading: Genesis 30 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Throughout this 30th chapter of Genesis, we see scheme after scheme being played out for the purpose of personal gain. Rachel and Leah scheme against one another in child bearing so as to win the favor of Jacob. And Jacob, who was already known for his deceitful ways against his father and brother, is once again involved in back and forth scheming with his father-in-law, Laban.
In all of these situations, the scheming participants credit God for their good favor. But is this to say that God applauds or rewards the scheming actions we commit for personal benefit?
How many times have you heard people say about others, “They’ll get theirs in the end?” Such a statement suggests that people will pay for their unjust ways when they finally face God’s judgment. Once again, people credit God for the outcome of what they have already perceived for themselves to be wrong, good, or bad.
Let’s be honest. In the present, in the future, and most assuredly in the end, God will use God’s power to intervene in our lives as God sees fit. We must be honest with ourselves and recognize that our choices in life are our responsibility- and we should not pass the buck and claim that our scheming, our dishonesty, is part of God’s great plan. Thanks be to God that God’s unending love continually reaches out to save us from our “our plans” and especially our scheming. Truly, it is by the Grace of God that we are blessed.
--Bishop Barbara J. Collins
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