"What shall I give you?"

Richard Huls

READ : Genesis 30:25-31

The story of Laban and Jacob continues. Jacob is ready to go back home and take his wives and children with him. Laban doesn’t want him to go so he tries to deter him with the question, “What shall I give you?” Why this question? Laban has learned that the way to persuade a person is to give him something. Jacob has learned that the way to true personal freedom is to make it on his own.

These well-worn truths are worth our consideration today. Buying into another person’s life with favors is a subtle evil. People want something, so we do it without careful thought about the consequences.

Parents are often guilty of this by bribing their children with promises, toys and goodies just to get them to do for them what they want. Once a person has found out what another person likes or needs, it is usually easy to manipulate that person for one’s own ends. We must accept responsibility for such action.

This issue arises in just about every walk of life. In such exchange both parties are responsible. One can be manipulative and tempt the other unfairly. We can deliver ourselves from this damaging behavior if we serve God with our whole heart, soul and mind. Keeping our integrity is a struggle and not easy.


Our Lord, help us to look to you for our needs, not to those who would use us for their own ends. Amen.