The Threads Blog
There is not a single person I know who is more competitive than I am. Basketball, softball, fantasy football, picking winners in Saturday night UFC fights, whatever. You name it, I compete. One of my worst vices is that in the heat of competition is everything locks down—compassion, respect, fear of injury, everything. It’s a classic case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That’s why it is so amazing to me when a person embroiled in competition so clearly shows Christ to the world.
Humility is not something I struggle with. I think there is potential there for me which is why I believe God intervenes on a regular basis to keep my head from getting too big. Whether its blue lights flashing in the background or simple events reminding me how little I am, click here to read about my latest “Don’t get cocky” moment. But in the case of Jacob, lets just say humility was a learned trait, much like it was for the Prodigal son I imagine. Jacob had done some dirty things in his life and had pretty well gotten one over on his brother Esau. Here we see a story of twins living completely separate lives. One deceitful decision strained their relationship and sent Jacob running for his life to Haran. Big brother Esau was capable and willing to do some serious harm to Jacob, so Jacob leaves. God tells him many years later to return home and restore his relationship with Esau. There are two main things i noticed during this passage about humility:
Perseverance. We don’t really like to talk about this word because it implies something difficult is happening. I have never heard someone say they had to persevere one more week in Hawaii, or a few more days on the ski slopes. I have never heard a coworker upset they had five vacation days left over at the end of the year say, “Well, I guess I’ll be forced to take a few more days off next year. I just can’t believe my bad luck.” No, those things are good so we like them. We want them to last as long as possible. They make us comfy, and comfy is good, right?
As I look around the “Christian” landscape today, I see many very strange things. One of them is a form of Christianity I don’t find as I read the Bible. In the Bible, I see men either following God or not. Certainly men were not perfect, but in cases of personal failures you’ll find repentance and reconciliation. As I look around today, I see people claiming to follow Christ, but their lives show nothing to back up their claim. I am not talking about earning salvation, but I am talking about having fruit. I am talking about obedience to God’s Word. I am talking about living a kind of faith that matters. I am talking about following after a loving God who demands our devotion. I guess when I look around I seem to find many people who want salvation without lordship and entrance to heaven without devotion. I’m afraid that many who call themselves Christians are going to be painfully awakened to hear the words, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” It is scary and very distressing to me.
There are a ton of issues that make me angry. Playing major league baseball’s opening games in Japan. High school cheerleaders who tape their beating of a classmate so they can have their 15 minutes of YouTube fame. Politicians from every party who seem to hold to their “principles” until it threatens to cost them a vote. People who believe the church is dead and there is NO hope in Christ for the world. However, for every item that makes me angry, there are just as many that give me hope. Huge hope. World-changing hope. Eternity changing hope. Here is my latest item of hope.
The beauty of this story is that we find ourselves at the same point Abraham did when he was standing at the feet of God wondering where in the world He was sending him. Not sure of the future. Tired as he thought about the trip ahead. Trying to explain to his wife they were leaving and going somewhere, he just didn’t know where yet. Try that one sometime—I am sure Sarah thought he was losing it! And then after knowing God’s promise was for him to have child, he waited for 25 years to have the child God promised him. Abraham accepted change and simply followed where God was leading. Certainly this lesson will help us handle change, but I think we also need to look at the bigger picture, and that is obedience to a really big God.