Favor by Osmosis

1:30 PMHeather

It's all in who you know.  Right?  That's what the world tells us anyway.  It pays to have friends in high places.   Nothing like getting VIP treatment or scoring some hard to get tickets all because you know someone.  Or, how about when you are connecting two people?  You talk about asking one person to do you a favor in order to benefit the other person.  Networking.  Cashing in favors.

Well, today, we are going to look at this topic, with a slightly different spin.  A Biblical perspective, in fact.  Favor by osmosis.  Nope, today is not a how-to on getting connected in order to receive favors of monumental proportions.  Nope, today, is quite the opposite.  We are going to look at how to be the kind of person that is the conduit for favor poured out on others.   Today we are going to explore "how to" be the one from whom others receive favor by osmosis.  Talk about being well connected--how about favor by the Most High God?  Can't say that I have any friends in a higher place than that.

Now, before we dive in completely, I want to pick your brain on something.  It's a "thing that makes me go hmmm?"  You see, sometimes I think we can learn as much from the Bible about what it doesn't say as we do from what it does say.  And, I have to note that we see the word favor in Genesis 19 in relation to Lot's rescue from Sodom.  Then, nada, nothing, zip, zero in regards to the use of the word "favor" for 11 chapters.  And, I just wonder why that is?  In those 11 chapters, there's all sorts of debauchery (Lot's daughters get him drunk in order to get pregnant by him) and all sorts of amazing miracles.  Like Abraham being tested to sacrifice Isaac, Isaac finding a wife, and the birth of Jacob and Esau.  Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Back on topic.  While we see the term "God gave success" in this interim, we don't see the use of the word favor until we bump into that Biblical character Laban.  Hmm.  Can't recall any snappy Sunday School songs about Laban or even any Sunday School lessons about Laban.  But, let me tell you something about him.  That was one astute fellow.  He well learned the lesson about receiving favor by osmosis.  And, he was no dummy.  Once he found it, he was determined to hang on to it.  

If you are with me on drawing blanks about Laban, let me tell you a bit about him that I gathered from diving into Genesis 29-30.  Laban was Jacob's uncle--his mother's brother (Genesis 29:10).  Laban was also the father of two girls--Leah and Rachel.  And, Laban was the one who deceived the deceiver.  Yep, he got Jacob good.  Jacob, who deceived his father, Isaac, in order to receive his brother Esau's due blessing.  Jacob felt that pain on the other end when Laban deceived him and gave him Leah rather than Rachel as his wife.  Are you following?  Rather sounds like a soap opera plot if you ask me.

Talk about doing anything for love.  Jacob agreed to work 7 years for Laban in order to take Rachel as his wife.  That man was in LOVE.  But, after those years, Jacob received the veiled Leah instead.  Makes me nearly laugh out loud when Jacob says in Genesis 29:25, "Why have you deceived me?!"  Yeah, Jacob.  Doesn't feel so good, does it?  Alas, Jacob was required to finish a bridal week with Leah, and then he got Rachel--for whom he had to work another 7 years for Laban.  If you have a daughter, you might agree with me that a good test of any young man suitable for our girls might if they are willing to work for our family 14 years!

For all his trickery, Laban had wisdom.  Then, again, perhaps his cunning was a sign of his wisdom.  You see, nothing got by him.  In those 14 years of having his son-in-law work for him, Laban noticed something.  Jacob's flocks increased.  Jacob's wives delivered baby after baby.  This guy Jacob was successful!  He had the midas touch.  So, Laban says the following to Jacob in Genesis 30:27-28:

"If I have found favor in your eyes, 
please stay.  I have learned by divination
that the Lord has blessed me because
of you."  He added, "Name your wages, 
and I will pay them." 

I sorta chuckle at that "learning by divination" part...cause I'm thinking it was sorta obvious.  But at least Laban had eyes to see that it was God's FAVOR that poured out on Jacob.  And, he wanted to keep a little piece of the pie.  He'd tricked Jacob into 14 years of service, and he was now willing to let Jacob name his price.  Because Laban didn't want to lose that favor by osmosis.  So, he approached Jacob humbly--asking him as to a superior--IF I have found favor in your eyes, please stay.
Glimpse of grace:  Here's the challenge I see here.  Is my walk with the Lord so dynamic that it spills over to those around me?  Do I speak truth and love and kindness into those around me because I am so changed by my relationship with Christ?  Am I a blessing everywhere I go so that others SEE that God's hand is on me?   Are my kids, my spouse, my friends, and my family better off because of how I choose to live for God?  Just what sort of residual effect do I have on those I touch today?  
Or, how about this second part of the challenge?  Am I so wise and discerning to realize the treasure of those who might draw me to Christ?  Do I see the "iron that sharpens iron" in those in my life--those people whose faith is inspiring and challenging...and CONTAGIOUS?  Am I smart enough to be like Laban and say, "Hey!  I noticed God showing up in your life.  And, I would be so blessed if you'd let me hang around you.  Can I just stick around near you?"  Are those the types of friendships and relationships that I intentionally seek to forge?

Favor by osmosis.  It ain't just a thing of the Old Testament.  Lord, please allow me to find favor in Your eyes today.  Let me recognize those gifts of favor and be changed by them.  But, oh, don't let me stop there!  Let me be a vessel of those gifts in the lives of others.  I want YOU to pour out of me into the lives of those I interact with today.  And, show me how to stay close to those who have this sort of walk with you.  I want your favor by osmosis--and I want to pour out favor through osmosis!

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