When we are afraid, it is best if we don’t make important decisions based on our fears. Instead, the Lord shows us through Jacob that we should lead with our gifts.
There is no denying the fear Jacob felt when he heard the news that Esau was coming to meet him and their reunion would be accompanied by 400 men who came with Esau. In his fear, Jacob divided his people into two bands, thinking if Esau attacks one, perhaps the other can escape.
But, then Jacob slowed down his thinking and spent some time before the Lord in prayer. It was after a night of prayer, Jacob “selected a gift for his brother Esau: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, ‘Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds’.
He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’ then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’ ” He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: “You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. And be sure to say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’ ” For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.”
So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.” (Genesis 32: 13 – 21)
Leading with our gifts means we move things forward based on what we have instead of what we don’t have. Leading with our gifts is meant to work the same way as leading with love; they’re meant to cover and bridge the distances between us. Leading with our gifts can be risky as we offer our best first but learn from Jacob that the offering of our gifts can be portioned out and shared sequentially.
Don’t get stuck as Simon Sinek points out, “only able to see what keeps us from what we want.” Lead with your gifts as you set your sights and focus upon what you want.