Friday, February 24, 2012

The Treasures In Heaven.10

"What merit is there in attaining all that the world can offer, if in so doing you forfeit your soul? What can be given in exchange for your soul, or your place in the kingdom of heaven?"

"There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. One of the latter sort comes at length to know at once whether a thing is true the moment it comes before him; one of the former class grows more and more afraid of being taken in, so afraid of it that he takes himself in altogether, and comes at length to believe in nothing but his dinner: to be sure of a thing with him is to have it between his teeth." George MacDonald, The Princess & Curdie

The cartoon image depicts the infamous exchange between twin brothers, Jacob & Esau. You may be familar with the story. The narrative describes Jacob coming out of the womb clinging to Esau's heel making Esau the older twin by mere seconds! Twins are funny like that, ours, like most I'm told, are incredibly competitive...

Legally, however, Esau is accorded the birthright (progeniture: the ownership of his father's estate); affectionately, he is father Isaac's favorite. Esau, hunter, sportsman, man's man. The kind you can grow a posterity on. Jacob, sneaky, deceitful, soft momma's boy. The kind of son for whom you have to watch your back. 

On a fateful day returning famished from a futile hunting campaign, Esau callously trades away his "birthright" for a bowl of Jacob's stew! It was a quick & clever negotiating trick on Jacob's part; the hard part came in devising a scenario to dupe his aging father into believing he was the notorious Esau so that he could finalize the deal and receive the estate. When Esau finally realized the consequence of his "exchange"--the enormous wealth of a prosperous father for a bowl of stew--he was not a happy hunter!

There are many lessons to be drawn from the human narrative. But the one we consistently fail to learn is this: choices have consequences! We can choose the behavior but we can't choose the consequence. Hoping for good consequence --short term and long term--is an act of faith. Alas, there is no rewind button...

God, our Creator-Father has given every human being a birthright: the opportunity to grow from the children of his image under the tutelage of a world system comprised of:
  • other sojourners (both good and bad), 
  • grand beauty & divine knowledge, 
  • deceitful spirits as well as ministering angels. 
By the choices we make we either grow -by degree- more toward Sons & Daughters who choose, by faith in His Son, to be what God is in nature: 
  • strong, 
  • tender, 
  • gracious, 
  • righteous, 
  • loving 
  • and kind 
or trade it for a bowl of something we can be "certain" about...the thing between our teeth!