Jacob worked hard. Jacob responds to his uncle’s request but he doesn’t name a wage. I would be hesitant to enter an agreement with Laban again as well. Jacob has already been cheated a couple of times. Jacob’s initial response is to turn Laban down. But he does explain why he wants to leave and why Laban should be okay with that. First, he mentions his work. “You yourself know how I have served you.” Jacob has worked hard and honestly while he was working those fourteen years so that he could have Rachel as his wife. Laban has a fourteen-year record of his work ethic. And Laban also knows how Jacob treated his animals. They were well taken care of and Jacob had done nothing underhanded the whole time. Granted, his name means cheat but for the last fourteen years, he has dealt truthfully with his uncle. Jacob acknowledges the blessings. In verse 30, Jacob confirms what Laban had learned from divination. Laban was indeed blessed by the Lord because of Jacob. Jacob had worked hard but it was God that gave the prosperity. Jacob does not take credit for the growth of the flocks. He does not cite his expert husbandry skills but points to God. This is the biblical work ethic. Many years later Paul would say in Colossians 3, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Jacob finishes with a question for Laban. “When shall I provide for my own household also?” Jacob had left everything behind in Canaan. Over the past fourteen years of his life, he has acquired four wives and at least 12 children but he has no material means to support this family. He needs to work to create a means by which to sustain his family. This is why he needs to go. But how would Laban respond to this line of reasoning? He says, “What shall I give you?” Laban is missing the point. Jacob is not looking for a handout. Jacob says, “You shall not give me anything.” Jacob, seeing the persistence of his uncle begins to formulate his own plan. Jacob makes a proposal. He offers to care for his uncle’s sheep and goats if he can go through the herds and take for himself all the speckled, spotted, and black sheep and the spotted and speckled goats and that will be his wages. That way, later on, if there is a question concerning his wage all they would have to do is to look at the coats of the animals and that would prove Jacob’s honesty. It seems like a fairly good plan that would keep Laban from changing his wages later on. But, Laban has been scheming longer than Jacob and he has a plan already brewing in his mind. I feel that there is a warning here. We need to be careful who we yoke ourselves with. You cannot be friends with the world and friends with God at the same time. Jacob is wise to be cautious in his dealings with Laban. It’s not wrong for Jacob to make this deal but it would be if he whole-heartedly threw in with his uncle who shows no sign of the fear of God in his life. This carefulness is proven valid in the next verses.