Friday, July 8, 2011

For Sale

“If they’ve put a price on it, they’ve already made a decision that it’s for sale. And, by putting a price on it, they’re saying, ‘That’s what I want for it.’ But, somewhere in the back of their mind, they already have a lower price they’ll take for it.”

I’m blessed to be under a Pastor who uses all kinds of techniques to help his flock to better understand and know the Word. One of the things he likes to do, sometimes even in a church service, is pause for the congregation to discuss among themselves what’s just been preached. Then, he'll continue. The subject of one of our lunch gatherings was “selling” (or not) our spiritual heritage. When Pastor Schaller had us discuss the subject, the quote that started this post was the first thought that came to my mind and out of my mouth. I’m not sure if the subject falls into the area of psychology or Bible Truth, but let’s look at it some more.


When we think of selling off our heritage, many of us will immediately have Esau come to mind. Jacob and Esau were twins. But Esau came into the world first, so he had the birthright to the family and tribal leadership. Unlike Jacob, Esau was rugged and a hunter. There was a time that Esau came from hunting that he was extremely hungry. Enough that he offered to sell his birthright to Jacob for food. Maybe Esau had been out hunting for days with no success at living off the land. But he offered his birthright and Jacob took him up on it. You can read the details in Genesis 25:24-34.

If you’ve ever bought a car, you know that the process is a mental wrestling match. The buyer knows what he can afford and how willing he is to go a little higher. The salesman has the list price as a starting point and knows how much lower he can go and still make a profit. I picture Esau as that car salesman. He may have been hunting for days or weeks with little or no success. And he finally heads back to the tribal home. As he gets closer and closer, the hunger keeps growing.. And Esau is thinking to himself that the only thing he’s got to offer is his birthright. Somewhere in the trip home, Esau concludes that he’ll sell it for a food supply. By the time he gets to Jacob, the negotiation takes place, but Esau settles for one meal.

As I think about Esau, I also think about us. Have you ever considered cheating on an exam to get the right grade? Or been willing, one time, to be a little shady in a business transaction? And there are lots of examples, some greater, some we may consider too minor to worry about. But our flesh will find that behavior acceptable, start at some level of what is acceptable, then slowly build to greater levels with time. Because, once one level becomes acceptable, we become immune to the thoughts that it really isn’t acceptable. That level of behavior becomes the new standard. And it becomes easier to move on to the next level. Pretty scary, huh?

The bad news is that we’re all in that position. We might have taken a pencil from work. Or we might have done something more. Because we have our own flesh to deal with. And we seem to gladly part with our birthright to keep the flesh happy. Isaiah 64:6 tells us what our own righteousness is like. The good news is that we don’t have to live there. We are children of the One who gave us the birthright. The thing that Esau didn’t recognize was that part of his birthright was being able to ask for the things which he sold his birthright for.. There’s nothing wrong with being well fed, well supplied, comfortable. But our flesh will always try to give those things higher priority than they deserve. Which allows us to seek the Birthright Giver to help us in doing what we need to instead of what we might succumb to.  It's our choice.

Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. 

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Keep praying for Dana and her family, Scott, Russ, Columbia, Jimmy and Betty, Mindy, Curtis, Peggy, Joyce, myself, and Libby.  And any of those special people God has put on your heart to consider in prayer?


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