Leadership Guru John Maxwell calls it “The Rebekah Principle.”
It’s the story of Abraham sending his servant, Eliezer, on a mission to find a wife for his son Isaac. It’s recorded in Genesis 24.
Eliezer left Haran with a large caravan of 10 camels loaded with expensive gifts and journeyed to Nahor, a distance of about 435 miles. Assuming that a camel can average 25 miles a day, it would have taken 17 days to arrive at their destination.
It would seem to be a difficult task to convince a young woman to leave her family, friends and homeland to journey a great distance to marry a man she hasn’t met. The text records Eliezer’s prayer to Jehovah that he would find that right woman for Issac. The one of God’s choosing.
As the caravan arrives, Eliezer spots a young woman. Rebekah, filling a water jar and asks for a drink. She humbly obliges and says “Drink, my Lord!” But what she does next is astounding!
“I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking” Rebekah offered. “So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels”
Eliezer “gazed at her in silence to learn whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not.” As the story unfolds, Rebekah was the one chosen to be the Patriarch Isaac’s wife.
Consider the astounding generosity of Rebekah. She carried water for 10 thirsty camels! It is estimated that a camel will drink between 20-30 gallons of water! It easily could have taken her 2 hours to carry that much water! And, all for a complete stranger, who only asked for a drink for himself!
Rebebek did more than asked. Or even required or expected. She serves as a model for ministry for all time.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus illustrated the principle in practical terms. Palestine was under Roman occupation. A soldier could tap you on the shoulder and force you to carry his bags or equipment for one mile. The Jews hated that. And they hated Rome. But what did Jesus say to do?
“If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matt 5:41-42)
It’s the “Rebekah principle.” Doing more than asked. Displaying a spirit of generosity. Kindness. Helpfulness. And humility.
Too often in our world of individualism, that is focused on our rights, happiness and self-interest, we want to give the least amount, yet receive the greatest return!
The “Rebekah principle” teaches us to pursue excellence. To go above and beyond what is required. To give more. Do more. Be more. An unknown author expressed it this way.
I will do more than belong, I will participate.
I will do more than care, I will help.
I will do more than listen, I will understand.
I will do more than believe, I will practice.
I will do more than read, I will absorb.
I will do more than that forgive, I will forget.
I will do more than dream, I will work.
I will do more than teach, I will inspire.
I will do more than earn, I will enrich.
I will do more than give, I will serve.
I will do more than live, I will grow.
I will do more than be a friend, I will be a brother.
Rebekah did more. And she was blessed by becoming Isaac’s wife and being in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
When we go the extra mile, we will receive the reward for our efforts. We will feel a personal satisfaction for serving. Others will feel valued and encouraged. And God will be glorified!
Strive for excellence. Do more than is expected. Go the extra mile. And apply the “Rebekah principle.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman