Second Fiddle, First Chair
Oh, the agony of unrequited love. It’s the fodder of many a love song, the motive of many a convicted felon, and the “dys” of many a dysfunctional family.
We read in the Bible of many instances where favor of one over another caused trouble. For Jacob, his can of worms was opened early-on when his uncle unloaded the older sister off on him in a grab bag marriage…and only after he agreed to a “sentence” of 7 more years of hard labor, did he wind up with his beloved Rachel. But what of Leah, Wife Number One, who may have had first chair but was actually playing second fiddle? Over the years, not only did unbalanced favor create division between Leah and Rachel, but the shockwaves reached out into their offspring as well. When at last the long-barren Rachel finally bore Joseph, Jacob’s partiality toward him caused the other sons to despise the boy.
Perhaps as you read this today, you are dragging the baggage of rejection behind you like a ball and chain. It’s as much a part of your existence as your right foot; in fact, it’s become a bit of your identity. When you look into the mirror, you see IT, not you.
Sometimes we can’t avoid being in the line of the fire of unfair circumstances; but while we can’t avoid the circumstances, however, we CAN allow God to shape our attitudes into a way that not only pleases our Heavenly Father, but assures us that we will reap a harvest when we remain faithful.
You may be in a relationship right now where you’re poorly regarded. Perhaps a fellow employee seems to step in and steal all your kudos from the boss, and you can’t seem to get ahead no matter how hard you try. Perhaps you are the “black sheep” of the family, or at the very least, the child who appears to be loved and respected less than your siblings. You may be the wife or husband who walks in the shadow of a deceased former spouse. You may even be a pastor of a church where all you hear of your parishioners is “the way Brother So-and-So did it.” You’re not a hopeless case. You don’t have to live in unhappiness and unfulfillment, either.
You’ve asked God to change your circumstances many times; now ask Him to change your heart toward your circumstances. Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (NIV) Begin today to sow into that relationship as unto the Lord, and not for the glory and acceptance of man. See, man can’t help but fail us because man isn’t perfect. When we do our works as unto the Lord, God blesses our steadfastness and integrity. Over time, our faithfulness will be proven and yes, it will pay off. When you do your best, you will ALWAYS have the approval of your Heavenly Father.
Interestingly when Jacob dies, the Scriptures tell us he was buried next to Leah—unfavored, homely Leah–instead of his beautiful Rachel. Perhaps in the end, he had come to value the longevity of Leah’s devotion to him. We don’t know all that transpired over the years, but we do know that he was content to rest beside the seemingly unloved one in the end.
Entrust your situation into God’s hands today, and remain faithful. Serve that employer well. Love that partial parent anyway. Be a devoted stepmother or father. The only one you’re obligated to “prove yourself” to is the Lord…and He can cause you to just seep with pure love for the person who disappoints you, even in the process. God who sees your heart attitudes in secret, will reward you openly–because you sought His acceptance above all else.
Today’s Scripture: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” – Colossians 3:23 (NIV)