There are many motivations for doing things. One of the major themes in the Bible is that the greatest motivator is love.
Was it love at first sight? When Jacob saw Rachel, he gave her a kiss! Of course, in that day it was often simply an expression of respect and friendship. How do we know? Because when Rachel conveyed the news to Laban that Jacob, their relative, had arrived, Laban “ran to meet him, and embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house” (Gen 29:13). It isn’t long, however, until we discover that there was more than respect behind Jacob’s kiss. We read: “Jacob loved Rachel” (v 17). After Jacob had stayed for a month in Laban’s home, and obviously had made himself useful around the farm, it was time for a family conference. “Then Laban said to Jacob, ‘Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?’” (v 15). There are two sides to wages. Of course, there is the benefit to the wage-earner, but there is also a contractual arrangement made which is beneficial to the one paying the wages. We will subsequently learn that Laban was tight with his money, if not actually covetous, and by this arrangement he hoped to lock in Jacob’s helpful services to his advantage. And so it would prove to be. What wages did Jacob request? “He said, ‘I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter’” (v 18). With no dowry money for a bride, he trusts this will be a suitable alternative. But, if we’re not careful, we might miss the ironic words that precede Jacob’s offer. They will prove to be a ticking bomb, although they seem to be innocent enough in the telling. “Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel” (v 16). Jacob may be a sly operator, but has he met his match in Laban? Watch out, Jacob!