She responded to his warmth, she basked in his company. They shared a sense of humor and agreed on life goals. But every time she thought he would propose, something sidelined him. A new work assignment, a friend going through a rough time…all seemingly reasonable reasons for him to pay her less attention, but somehow she was troubled.
Her friends said, “Don’t give up; eventually he’ll come to see how good you two are together.”
Her parents urged her to cut her losses. She’d already devoted much time to the relationship. “You need to move on,” her parents said.
She asked me. What did I advise her to do?
Then there was the young sales professional optimistically embarking on his first career. He was representing a good company with a good product. He reported to a well-regarded sales manager and he made his call quotas but he just wasn’t breaking through. Five months went by with only a few closings and commissions to show. Nobody wants to be a quitter, and he was no exception, but his spirits were drooping. He found it increasingly difficult to keep a smile on his face and a bounce in his step.
“Maybe this is just a bad match for me” he wondered. “Why keep on banging my head against the wall when at another company with another product, I might be doing really well by now.”
How did I respond to his request for guidance?
You’ve seen many similar situations, haven’t you? Perhaps you’ve even been in one yourself. Trying to break through into teaching; a career in fashion; starting your own small business; hanging in there with a long-term dating situation that isn’t moving toward marriage; writing a book. Persevere and persist? Or quit, move on to something more promising and cut the losses? How to know?
Ancient Jewish wisdom springs to our assistance. Here are two versions of one verse. Without peeking into a Bible, which do you think is correct?
And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like just a few days because of his love for her.
And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like forty years because of his love for her.
Surely the second verse, right? Imagine being head-over-heels in love with beautiful Rachel, but not being able to clasp her into your arms for seven long years. Surely those seven years felt like forty.
But no; in reality the first verse is correct. The difference between my two versions of the verse is the difference between love and infatuation. When infatuated, delaying consummation is intolerable. When in love, each day of progress is thrilling.
Infatuation we pursue regardless of physical, emotional, or financial depletion. Love doesn’t deplete—it regenerates. An infatuation distorts reality and dominates life; love integrates into one’s life.
The young lady I described above was in a state of infatuation. She was ignoring negative clues because she wanted the relationship to work. On that basis, I sided with her parents. The sales professional, however, was seeing monthly improvement in his numbers; it was slow but it was steady. There were real skills he could work on that would lead to his goal. My advice to stick it out paid off handsomely.
Are you in love with your project, your ambition or a person? Or are they infatuations? Are you goal-oriented and clearly see the path to your aim, or are you fantasizing upon the outcome without seeing steps on the way to getting there? Jacob was in love, not infatuated. He didn’t relish the delay, but each day gave him opportunity to become more of the man that he wanted Rachel to marry. He stuck it out with excellent results.
We read of best-selling authors, prosperous business professionals and enviable relationships. We didn’t witness the obstacles they faced and overcame, but they persevered for a goal they loved. One resource we recommend is our book Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money. In it I help you set a path for a real economic future. Invest in yourself or jumpstart the life of someone you wish to bless.
Would you like to learn more about the book of Genesis?
For a Limited Time the First Lesson of Scrolling through Scripture is FREE.
Even if you don’t know the Lord’s Language, Hebrew, you still can access the original language of the Bible, delving way deeper than any translation. Rabbi Daniel Lapin walks you verse by verse through the Torah, the Bible, decoding the original Hebrew text via the lens of ancient Jewish wisdom.
Unit One focuses on the six days of Creation and foundational principles from the beginning of Genesis. This First Lesson discusses Genesis 1:1, how God communicated with man through the Hebrew language, and how studying the Bible in Hebrew opens up a world of deeper meaning.