When I was growing up, there was an older gentleman, Mr. Nate, who attended my congregation. He would greet people when they came in, and help them feel at home. Whenever you asked him how he was doing, he would always reply, with his arms spread out, “Great! I made another day! ” Not a hint of sarcasm. If you knew some of Mr. Nate’s backstory, you would understand why it was so amazing. He had been a Jewish-American POW in Germany in World War II, lost his son in Vietnam, and had numerous other tragedies happen. And then he found Y’shua, and that totally changed things. He knew that it was God who had given him the blessings that were in his life and God had granted him one more day to live.
The Parsha this week is Toldot and means generations. It’s found in Genesis 25:19-28:9. The haftorah is found in Malachi 1-2:9.
It starts out with Isaac praying to God for Rebekah to have children. She becomes pregnant and God tells her she is having twins. There are two nations within her, one will be greater than the other and the older will serve the younger.
They named the older twin Esau and the younger Jacob. Even from the start, they were at odds. As they grew up, Esau was more outdoorsy and Jacob was more indoorsy. Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob. One day, Jacob was cooking and Esau comes in and is starving. Esau demands some of the stew. Jacob says, sure, but give me your birthright.
What’s a birthright? You may ask. A birthright was the first-borns right, simply because he was first-born, so you could say it was given by God. It meant that the firstborn would get a double portion of the inheritance, be the leader of the family, and all around it was a very important thing.
Esau agrees to give Jacob his birthright.
God gave Esau the birthright, but he took it for granted. He decided to sell the blessing that God had given him for a temporary meal.
What has God given you that you’re taking for granted? God has blessed all of us with so much, but it’s easy to get caught up in the everyday, mundane, nonsense. Whenever I start taking things for granted, I think about Mr. Nate and his joy for life.
Take a minute to write down or think of all the things you are thankful for. It might be hard at first, but start with easy stuff. Are you breathing? It’s a good day. Are you in a house or a shelter? God’s awesome. Did you eat today? God’s good. God has granted you a day to be alive, and that is wonderful.