Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Esau Accepts the Gifts -- Genesis 33:11

“Please take my gift which has been brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have plenty.” Thus he urged him and he took it.

Jacob in essence is telling Esau, “I have explained to you why you should take the gift that I brought for you. Now please do so. It was brought for you and to you it shall be given.” The giving of the gift was, as most gift giving is, more about the feelings of the giver than about the feelings of the receiver. Jacob was doing this because of what God had done for him. We give because God gave. We love because He loved.

And Jacob goes on to return to the theme of “having plenty” which Esau tried to use for not accepting the gifts. Was it Jacob’s pride coming back to over-ride Esau’s possible expression of his pride earlier? Perhaps it was or perhaps not. The point is clear though; most of us can give because we can also indeed say as Jacob did, “I have plenty”. God sees to it that when we give there is plenty left over for us. In fact in most cases, He has blessed us with way more than we need and is just waiting for us, sometimes almost a lifetime, to give it all away.

The last sentence of the verse also speaks to us about how a gift that would otherwise not be easily accepted is to be given. In Jacob’s case, “he urged” Esau to take it. Being involved with a mission that ministers to some of Canada’s Aboriginal people, I am often very conscious of how our ‘ministry’ is indeed perceived. Do we force it on others? Do we see ourselves as the ‘rescuers’ of a lost person or people? Do we see the individuals we serve as poor and we’re the wealthy willing to give them what we do not need? God forbid. To win the hearts of those we are trying to build relationships with, we must be careful that anything we give them is accompanied by both the right attitude and the rationale for giving. There are two ways for our mission to give to others. We need to give out of pure love and as expression of our thanks to God for what He has given us. Or we need to give seeing the potential of the receiver and what he/she could do to reach that potential with anything we may give them. That takes thought and consideration not just about what we give, but how, and more importantly, how it will be perceived. I have come to realize that God, the greatest Giver, will honor our good and honorable motives for giving if we take the time to thoughtfully consider these things.

Finally, because of Jacob’s determination, motives, and his willingness to explain his rationale for giving, God sees to it that Esau accepts the gifts. The reunion was held and the gifts were accepted. The reconciliation was sealed. May it be so with us as we consider individuals that we need to be reunited with. How well this reconciliation played out in the years ahead remains to be seen as we continue our study of these Bible characters.

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