Pastor's Corner: Valuing your birthright!
Last updated 10/21/2023 at 1:54pm | View PDF
In Genesis 25, it tells the story of Esau and Jacob, brothers as different as night and day, who had fought with one another even in their mother’s womb. Though they were twins, Esau was the firstborn and had the right to certain privileges. The firstborn was entitled to a double inheritance and would someday take his father’s place as the head of the family business. What is more, he also would be expected to take on the spiritual leadership of his clan.
But Esau never got to exercise those privileges. He returned desperately hungry from a hard day in the fields. His brother Jacob, more of a homebody and, apparently, a good cook, had made some bread and lentil stew. Esau asked for a portion and Jacob drove a hard bargain. He asked him to sell his birthright for a hot meal.
Now Jacob was shrewd and is often criticized as being greedy and grasping, but the Bible doesn’t focus on his behavior. Instead, when Esau decided that filling his belly once was worth more than a lifetime of leadership and privilege, the Bible blames him, saying, “So Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:34b)
In fact, this turn of events didn’t surprise God. In fact, when the twins’ mom, Rebekah, asked God what was going on during that terribly turbulent pregnancy, part of his reply was the prophecy that “…the older will serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23)
Now God didn’t condone Jacob’s sneakiness and later deception; in fact, He punished him, both with years of exile far from his family and with the dealings of his even more deceptive father-in-law. But the fact that God goes on to validate Jacob’s place of leadership and blessing shows that those sins apparently were not as ugly to the Father as Esau’s indifference.
Christians have a birthright too! Jesus is the firstborn, heir to all of creation and given all authority in heaven and earth. But He has made us co-heirs and given us His power of attorney (Romans 8:17, Luke 4:6). From his amazing life of miracles, He declared unequivocally that those who believed in Him would do “greater things than these.” (John 14:12). He offers us an incredible abundant life full of peace and joy, even in life’s hardships. Our birthright includes incredible blessing and a place of spiritual leadership, in our families and communities. Yet most of us settle for much less.
Unfortunately, many are like Esau, trading a glorious inheritance for momentary satisfaction. In fact, most neglect it, not for some great passion or experience, but by sheer indifference, for the daily cares of an ordinary life. God’s declaration that He wishes that we would either reject Him entirely or love Him with our whole hearts, makes it clear that He hates indifference and passivity (Revelation 3:16). Hate can be turned into love, but inertia is a deadly trap that can rob us of God’s greatest blessings for years, even decades.
As God’s great leader Joshua declared, “Choose today who you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) It is one of the reasons that he was one of only two people left captivity in Egypt and lives to enjoy the Promised Land. Blessing comes when we choose to claim our spiritual inheritance, take on the mantle of spiritual leadership and live radically committed to God. It is the most exciting and blessed way to live so don’t let passivity rob you of the amazing life God wants to give you. Choose Him today!