Dealing With a Dishonest Boss

Dorothy Hostetter

READ : Genesis 31:36-48

It isn’t easy to do business with a man like Laban. In Laban’s world there were no boundaries. Everything and everyone belonged to him and existed for his benefit, including his married daughters and their children.

When Jacob agreed to continue working for Laban, he was counting on the occasional birth of spotted goats and black sheep for his rightful share. But tightfisted Laban aimed to reduce Jacob’s small share even more by removing all the differently colored animals immediately so that they wouldn’t crossbreed with Laban’s share.

Under mounting pressure, Jacob began making himself rich at his boss’s expense. Finally, fear of his boss’s power and anger drove him to risk escape with his two wives (Laban’s daughters), their 11 small children, dozens of servants and a slow moving flock.

Jacob was between a rock and a hard place. I don’t admire his behavior in building his own flock at Laban’s expense. He seems like the old Jacob-before Bethel. But how would I have acted? Would I have remained perfectly honest for twenty years, no matter what?

Jacob’s story mixes heavenly and earthly themes in ways we can’t explain. One thing we do know: God is just and justifies those who put their faith in him.


Lord, when I face an insurmountable mountain, may I trust and honor you no matter what happens. Amen.