This is My Crowd

This is My Crowd
Picture by: Photography by Vicky Campos

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

What's It Worth To Ya?

I am a bargain hunter.  I love them.  I have told many a person that I am more impressed by someone getting a steal of deal than I am of someone paying big money for that same item.  Name brands don't impress me either, so saying you spent $120 on jeans will induce nothing but a face full of pity from me, no matter what name they may have printed on the back.
You know who else is a bargain hunter?  Satan.  (Wait, was that a satan juke?  Does such a thing exist?  Does the lack of alliteration take away from the effect?  Forget it.)  You know, the devil.  The fallen angel of light, Lucifer.  Now, I'm not saying that bargain hunting is evil, so before you light those coupons on fire and swear off Ross, hear me out. 
John 10:10 states that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.  That sounds bad and very noticeable, right? 
If you've been robbed, you would probably realize it at some point.  "Well, I had my cell phone when I was at Starbucks, then... Dang it, I think that dude stole my phone!  Crap."

If you or someone you loved was killed, you might just be a bit affected.  Unless you're an atheist or have no belief in an afterlife , in which case, if you were killed you might not notice that you ceased to exist.  But, surely SOMEONE would notice.  "Did ya hear?  Tom was killed!  Yeah, real sad and crazy deal." 
Should destruction come to your home, I would think you would take note. "Geez, Martha, there appears to be some type of hole in the living room wall." 
These terms: steal, kill and destroy, have incredibly violent overtones; "take notice" overtones.  But, what happens when he shows up in a disguise and wants to bargain?  Will we even realize it?

In Genesis 25, we read about fraternal twin brothers named Jacob and Esau.  As boys can typically be, their relationship was pretty competitive.  Having a crazy, manipulative mother probably didn't help matters, but that's a story for a different day.  So, if you haven't read about them, Esau was a hairy outdoors man, an excellent hunter and, technically, the oldest.  He was his fathers favorite.  Jacob, the youngest by mere seconds, however, hung out around the house and was favored by his mom.  A small portion of the long story short, Esau came home one day from working outside or hunting or some such other grunty man activity and was starving.  In that moment, he was easily convinced to trade his birthright (a BIG deal back then) for lunch.  Yep, lunch.  The writer of the book of Genesis goes on to explain that Esau despised his birthright and later when he changed his mind and wanted it back, it was too late.
Esau was an idiot.  Am I right?  A colossal imbecile.  He was so short sighted that he couldn't even think beyond his next meal.  It's shocking, really.  I mean, who would trade something with irreplaceable value that has generational implications for something so fleeting as a meal? 
Apparently, Esau, but I would too.  Even you would.  If I were being honest, which apparently I am, I have already done it and chances are, so have you.  You might be saying at this moment: "Wait.  What?"  We'll get to you and me in a minute, let's talk about Esau some more.  It'll make me feel better. 
Esau understood deep down what he was giving up, but he couldn't hear that voice over the clanging of his flesh.  If he did, he silenced it with excuses ("but I might DIE of hunger" - dramatic much?) or flat out lies ("this isn't final, I can always get it back" - Sorry, buddy, didn't need a written contract back then).  In the end, he would lose it all to Jacob; his birthright and eventually his inheritance.  But, this post isn't about devious Jacob or manipulative Rebekah, though they certainly had their parts to play, it's about Esau and us, and how we all fall victim to the seemingly innocuous bargains of the enemy. 

Don't be fooled, this whole birthright and inheritance thing applies to us today, even if we don't fully understand it or catch the greater implications.  The Bible is full of promises God has made to each one of us regarding not just the next life, but this life we are living now.  Promises that we really should familiarize ourselves with so that we can avoid despising them simply for lack of understanding.  We also all have bodies we inhabit, sacks of flesh that try to boss us around; convince us that we need stuff NOW; persuade us NOT to do what we know we ought.  In addition to that, we have an enemy that is constantly looking for a foothold; ways to catch our attention; opportunities to gain access to our ear.

How often do we bargain our blessings away for dollar store merchandise?

The enemy can't steal your salvation, but he can make despising your birthright and inheritance as children of God seem palatable, even if just for a moment.

Church on Sunday?  Nah, I'm tired.  Fast on Monday?  But, I'll faint.  Read my Bible?  I have stuff to do.  Pray?  I'll do it later.  Lie?  It's only one slightly gray lie.  Sex with my girlfriend/boyfriend?  Man, that purity stuff is so old fashion, plus we're gonna get married anyhow.  Porn?  At least I'm not having sex.  Third dessert?  What difference does it make.  Forgive that person that abused me, abandoned me or offended me?  The pain runs deep, God will understand.  Give to my friend in need/the homeless guy/my church?  I barely have enough to pay for cable.  The list goes on and on and is crafted specifically for each of us.  So what bargaining chip catches your eye? 


The absolute truth is that none of the above or anything else on the long list of bargaining chips will keep you from heaven, but it may keep you from experiencing the best God has for you in this life.  Think this is OT and doesn't apply to us in the modern church?  Well, let me show you where this whole blog started for me. 
Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal.  You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.  Hebrews 12:16-17 (NLT)

Esau never lost the relationship he had with his father... just the blessing his father so desired to bestow upon him.  So pause for a moment the next time when the right thing feels uncomfortable or requires a little effort or sacrifice and consider what you might be giving up when you satiate that bratty flesh of yours.

Don't worry, I'm just passing along a lesson that I am in the midst of learning myself.

P.S.  What in the world do you think that girl is selling up there?