For well over 20 years, I’ve been at this teaching thing. I’ve gone to trainings, incorporated new technologies, and searched for the most effective strategies. I say all that to set the stage for why I could say I’ve earned my success. Even students how don’t like math seem to like my classes, I’m treated with respect by students, peers & parents, and I successfully break down difficult concepts for students to learn.

However… with age, maturity, and a walk with God comes wisdom. The success I enjoy is the direct working of God’s hand of favor. If I were not where he wanted me to be, doing what he has called me to do, and were it not a part of his plan, I wouldn’t be in the standing I’m in now. Does that make sense? I think Jacob would get it because he experienced it.

Jacob had 11 sons and a daughter while working for his father-in-law Laban. Jacob knew such success that tensions arose between him and Laban and his sons so Jacob decided to return to his homeland. With what would he return with as a result of his years of labor? Laban asked Jacob to name his price and he said he would take all the speckled, spotted, or dark colored lambs from the flocks. Note he didn’t ask for the best livestock. The price was agreed upon and the flocks separated. As Jacob finished up his time there, he did something unusual. He cut branches from trees, made white strips down the bark, and placed them in the watering hole. The flocks that came to drink then mate by the water bore speckled lambs. Jacob was always looking for an angle… what a deceiver… what a human.

The point to make is that Jacob thought his plan with the branches was increasing his flocks and making him successful. God helped him find clarity and reality in a dream. An angel sent to Jacob opened his eyes to see that his success wasn’t because of cut branches, hard work, or schemes but because God had decided to bless Jacob.

Two take-a-ways…

One: If we don’t feel we are living in place of success, then perhaps God is choosing a different route to guide us.   Just ask Job about the tough seasons in life and the fruit they produce when we keep walking with God in the valleys.

Two: If success is ours today, to whom or what do we give the credit? A good education? A lucky break? Our intelligence? Our own sweat and tears? … The hand of God?

God, I want to pause here and now to thank you for your hand of favor upon me. Any success I know is because you brought it and plan to use it for your glory. Bring into my life whatever you need to in order to see your will be done and to make be more Christ-like. Amen!

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