Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac. He wanted a wife from his own people because of shared values; he wanted the same kind of person for his son that he had found in Sarah. He sent his most trusted servant to get the job done. The servant prayed to the God of Abraham and asked for success on his journey. As he prayed, he laid out a plan to find the right kind of person for his master’s son. The story is told in Genesis 24. Make sure that you read it yourself; insights abound in this story.
The servant prayed for a woman that would demonstrate an attitude of service that would be unselfish, willing, and beyond the expected. In short, he prayed that she would get water for him but that she would voluntarily get water for his camels also. Can you picture this in your mind? How much water do camels drink? How long did it take her to do this voluntary labor? Was the servant impressed? You bet!
Abraham did not tell the servant this but the servant knew Abraham’s heart. He wasn’t just after a relative—He had seen Lot’s choices earlier—He was after a certain type of person. He was looking for someone who had learned the joys of serving, of hospitality, of work. He found her in Rebekah.
Where did Rebekah learn this stuff? At home, in the family, from her earliest days. She did not get this at a seminar. She grew up with this modeled for her in the family. She saw it in the hearts of her parents, uncles, and aunts. She caught it. I am also quite sure that she was taught it. The ways of the people of the Middle East are passed down intentionally. I have seen it first-hand with my own father-in-law.
Getting to know him was one of the enriching episodes of my life. Listening to his perspective, puzzling with his sense of humor, seeing his desire as a father to pass on his values to his kids and grandkids. Patricia has told me how he would train her in hospitality, in gift-giving, in conversation, in serving. I have seen him laugh as he tried to teach my own kids, his grandchildren, how to snap your fingers the Arab way. He was always teaching: fruit trees, real estate, family.
I have been blessed like Isaac was blessed; I have received a wife who carries within her timeless values of serving and work and hospitality. In turn, I have watched and learned as she has taught our children the things her dad taught her.
Abraham was called to be a blessing to the whole earth through his descendants. His servant knew that a selfish wife for Isaac would be out of alignment with God’s plan. May we train our children to work and to serve by going beyond the expected. This value of blessing over and beyond the norm is at the heart of God.
As parents today, let’s catch it ourselves, model it, and pass it on. By doing this, we will be blessing countless peoples for generations to come. . . like Rebekah . . . and like Abraham. . . and like Jesus.
If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
LIVE BEYOND THE EXPECTED!