I heard a true story this week that caught my attention. It was about a business owner that was looking for some employees in a village. He wanted to test them a bit on where their values were. The village was neither poor nor rich.
The business owner gathered all the applicants and offered the following proposal to each person. “If you come back tomorrow, I will give you one dollar. If you come back two days from now, I will give you ten dollars. If you come back three days from now, I will give you one hundred dollars. If you come back four days from now, I will give you one thousand dollars.”
Guess what they did? All of them came back the next day…for one dollar. That’s a values statement. None of them were in a desperate state. They wanted the dollar…now! That’s called ‘The Tyranny of the Urgent.’ “I want it and I want it now.” It’s smart people doing a dumb thing. I didn’t say they were dumb. I said that was dumb.
There’s a story in the Bible that illustrates this idea. It’s about two twin brothers named Esau and Jacob. Esau was born first. Jacob was born second. As the oldest son, Esau had the birthright of the first born son. In those days, that was a big deal. Esau’s birthright was his unique identity. His birthright was who he is. His purpose is what he does. Who and why you are determines how and what you do.
But Esau was impulsive and stimuli driven. Esau wanted everything now. He didn’t relate to the “wait room.” What did Esau do? One day he went hunting all day. When he returned from the hunt He felt like he was starving. His senses were screaming “You’re starving! You ‘gotta’ have food now!” His brother Jacob was just sitting down ready to enjoy a good meal. When Esau saw the food he pleaded with Jacob, “Please let me have some of that food.”
But Jacob and his mother wanted something that Esau was born with. It was Esau’s birthright. Jacob was the second of the two twins. Jacob said, “First, sell me your birthright.” Esau thought, “What good is my birthright to me if I starve.” Genesis 25:34 says, “Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
Esau wasn’t famished. He just felt like he was famished. He didn’t consider the consequences of his choices. “I’m alive. I’m full. I’m on my way. Who cares about my birthright?” Think about it. He gave up his future for a momentary impulsive whim in the present. It was a decision he would be sorry for the rest of his life.
What were the consequences of his impulsiveness? In Hebrews 12, Esau’s life is summarized this way. First of all Esau became bitter and his bitterness spread to other people. He sought, with tears, to receive his birthright back but was rejected. Not because of God. It was because he wanted his birthright back but he would not repent or change or get better or even acknowledge his responsibility in the incident. His tears were for himself…living an unfulfilling life he was never designed by God to live. He never considered God designed him with an identity and purpose for his generation.
Do you know what you call this? It’s a little touch of hell. Bitterness, tears, shame (His name means red from embarrassment or shame), and a false external identity that held the real Esau captive.
Don’t ever trade your God given identity and purpose for one dollar, one meal or an identity you were never designed by God to be. The tragic result is a wrong identity, wrong connections and wrong purpose. Consider your birthright: Called to Christ…Called to meaningful community…Called to Christ’s special calling for your life. Now, that’s heavenly.
I’d like to thank Bernard Sanders from Bath, England for his inspiration and revelation in this article.
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in newspapers and blogs all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 600 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing inaccurate mental perceptions that the community has of God, church, and Christianity. If you know of a local newspaper that you think would like these articles, please have them contact Ed Delph at our website. The articles are free of charge and Ed’s way of giving back to the community.