Every year NCC staff gets the wonderful opportunity to go to Catalyst. It’s a huge privilege that I get down right giddy for. This past year, Catalyst opened with a message from the story of Jacob and Esau.
Right before we the conference, I read the book of Ecclesiastes in the G2C plan. I was struck the insatiable and unquenchable human appetite. The book is filled with good things that cannot be enjoyed by Solomon. He’s placed too large of an expectation on them, worshiped them in place of God, and wanted them satisfy a longing they were never intended to satisfy. And he found them… meaningless.
Look at the story of Jacob and Esau through that lens of that human desire. It caused Esau to trade his birthright for a bowl of stew. He said, “what good is the birthright to me?” He was starving. His appetite for the immediate caused him to loose focus on what was important.
So he traded.
Esau traded his future - the right to the promise of Abraham as Isaac’s firstborn son – for a measly bowl of stew.
It forced all 13,000 of us in the room to ask ourselves this question: What do I trade?
As we go into 2011, I pray that we keep focused on the purpose God has loaded in our lives. We have been given a great inheritance.
Here’s two simple questions from Catalyst I found helpful to re-train some of my appetites:
1. Think 10 years out… What do you want to see God do in your marriage, in your children, professionally, in church… in you? What are some promises God has given you? Write them down.
2. What is your bowl of stew? You’ll know it by the temporary satisfaction or relief it provides. It’s the easy way out. It’s what you find difficult to say ‘no’ to. Maybe it’s not immoral or illegal, but it’s not the blessing God has for you.
Never let your desire for stew cause you to loose sight what God has for you, or what he has blessed you with. In Genesis 25:33 it says that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. In chapter 27 we read that Jacob gets Isaac’s blessing. We can trace that lineage to King David, and to Christ.
In Ephesians 3:20 it says that “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Don’t exchange that.