Matthew 11:28-30 (Message)
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
During a powerful worship service, the leader began to expound on God’s Grace and His Love that takes whatever it is that we have to offer and gives us something better in exchange. We give God a broken existence, He gives us a brand new life. We give the Lord sickness and disease, He gives us healing. We give Jesus bits and pieces of us, but He fills us with all of His Spirit. You see it really is an unfair exchange and maybe that is why some people have such a difficult time accepting the terms of God’s Covenant. It is just too good to be true. See I know me including every fault and failure that is sprinkled liberally through my life…what do I have to give an Amazing God who gave everything for me? Well, when you look at it that way not very much. But when you consider that you are important to God and He loves you as His Child things begin to change.
My favorite holiday is Mother’s Day. I love it because once my children were old enough to begin school, they would present me with handmade gifts in precious colored bags. The kids were so excited about their gifts and I would make a grandioso showing of opening each one and oohing over their hard work. They made those gifts for me. They did their very best to express their love with their own little hands and hearts. To this day, I have them tucked away and cherish every single one even now as most of our children are grown adults. It was from them to me. It gave them so much pleasure to give me their gifts and they did not expect anything in return except my approval and acceptance. They did it because I am their “mom” and they love me. Fast-forward to each birthday and Christmas after Mother’s Day and you will not find handwritten notes to each child accompanied by a picture frame or piece of pottery that I made myself. I delight in my children and want them to have the very best things and use these holidays as an excuse to bless them from my means which are much greater than what they had to offer as children. They could not afford to buy lavish gifts but gave what they had which I gladly accepted. I did not base what I gave them back on the purchase price of what they gave me which would be grossly unequal. But rather I lavished my love on them according to my means at the time. God is our Father. He is the Creator of Heaven and earth. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Everything belongs to Him leaving nothing out. God gave His People the right to choose to love Him or not. It is all up to you. Stop worrying about the rate of exchange and know that it will never be equal in trade but always an unfair exchange because you can never out give God! It is humanly impossible. Doesn’t God deserve good gifts from His Children as well?
Come to me. Get away with me and you will recover your life. The inconsistencies of Heaven and earth make it impossible to shift the burden of life to the Lord if you expect equal compensation. Some people see their life as irrevocably broken and impossible to repair. God has given all people a measure of faith to invest as one see’s fit. The problem is that we continue to give it to people and things that are not worthy of it. Jesus said, “I can do nothing by myself except what the Father shows me to do.” (John 5:19-20) God has great things in store for you as His Precious Child but only if you are willing to do it His Way. Jesus did only what the Father told Him to do when God told Him to do it. They lived in unison and therefore Jesus Christ is now our example. (Hebrews 12:2) We must learn the unforced rhythm of grace. I believe this is one’s ability to enter the Presence of God with all that they have and all that they are in exchange for all that the Lord is offering us today. Resistance is futile when it comes to the Blessing of God. He planned to do so that is why it is called an inheritance. It becomes your birthright when you are born again. Have you given away your right as a firstborn Child of God?
Genesis 25:29-34 (NLT)
One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.
Esau did not see the potential of his birthright. He did not value his position as firstborn son. So when he came home starving and his brother had prepared a delicious meal, Esau’s immediate need to over his ability to see the future hope in his birthright so he gave it away from some soup and bread. Do not judge Esau too harshly for we do it every day when we compromise accepting less than God’s Best to satisfy our natural hungers, drives and desires. The Children of Israel traded their Glorious God who had saved and delivered them time and time again performing miracles in their midst for a statue of a grass-eating bull. (Psalm 106:19-22) We have lost sight of the value of our birthright and exchange it for so much less than it is worth every day rather than taking it to God to make an unfair exchange of so much less for so much more. To hunger and thirst for righteousness is power to those who are weak because it causes us to seek more than what our five sense can detect. (Matthew 5:6) The Word of God promises that these people will be satisfied. Righteousness allows us to walk closely with the Lord and begin to experience His Favor. His Favor is better than life. (Proverbs 8:35) What are you trading your birthright for today? Is it a person? I regret to inform you that every single person in your life will let you down and require forgiveness to maintain a right relationship but God will never let you down. He will never leave you or forsake you. What are you exchanging all your time for? Money? It will rot and decay. When you die someone else will spend what is left. It is not God’s Economy but simple a vessel for His Use. When you consider that the streets of Heaven are lined with gold, it puts the potential of money into perspective. You will never have enough to be satisfied until your provision comes from the Lord alone. Things just add a burden to your life unless they are given as a gift from God. The Lord blesses His People even making them rich but adds no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22) You do not have to beg for it just maintain righteousness and wait for it. (Psalm 37:25) For goodness sake, stop selling your birthright to the world and keep it safe until Jesus comes.
Luke 15:17-24 (NLT)
“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.” “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
This is the best illustration of the unfair exchange that Jesus wants to make with you today. When he finally came to his senses, the prodigal son had lost everything. His inheritance was gone and he was eating pig food. Like Esau, the young man was starving but rather than selling his birthright he headed home. He knew that his father was filled with compassion and a good man who would surely allow him to work as a hired hand. The son knew he would have a full belly and safe shelter in which to sleep and with these two expectations headed home. But that is not what he found at all – his father threw a party. He ran to meet his beloved child in the road embracing him and immediately reinstating his birthright symbolized by the ring on his finger. “For this my son of mine was dead, but has now returned to life.” Every time we come into the Presence of God simply worshipping Him for who He is and not what He can do for us, it is such a reunion. We are brought back to life as we accept our birthright once more as Children of the Living God. But there must be an exchange albeit unfair, we must give him our broken life for the brand new one that He offers. We cannot be in covenant without an exchange. Is your life really so wonderful without the Lord that it is worth struggling to give up? I didn’t think so. Once you experience the Father’s Love and Favor, you will never feast under the table again. You will neither hunger and thirst no matter your situation or circumstances in life because God’s Hand of Blessing rests upon His Children’s Head. (Psalm 139:5) So let the party begin!
Hebrews 12:12-17 (NLT)
So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 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.
We see Esau’s story again in the Book of Hebrews. By the time Esau realized what he was giving up, it was too late. Take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees today. It is time to reclaim your birthright and accept the unfair exchange that is our covenant with God. You will never out give God. You can never earn His Favor and Love. It belonged to you from the very beginning now all you have to do is claim it. Your love will never be worthy of His Grace and Mercy but that’s okay. He didn’t expect it. He knows you. God created you. He examines your heart each day hoping it is the moment that you will turn it all over to Him. He wants to bless you. The Lord wants to trade all your sorrows for joy, your pain for prosperity, your sickness and disease for healing and so much more. In fact, Jesus died to just that so why deprive Him of the Reward of the Cross which is you? Just you. Nothing more or less. To give your entire life to Jesus Christ is to fully claim your birthright from God even if it is an unfair exchange. It is all that the Lord ever wanted because all He wants is YOU!
Psalm 16:5-11 (NLT)
LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.