Are you really my son Esau? 

Jacob would do anything to get ahead.   In an effort to secure his father Isaac’s deathbed blessing—and with it, abundant wealth—he stooped to impersonating his older brother Esau and stealing his place in the family.   The riches and prestige that came with being the firstborn certainly ranked higher for him than family warmth and fraternal ties.

But if you look at the end of his life, Jacob is a different person.   Even though his wealth was threatened by a severe famine, Jacob was more concerned with keeping his family together than with all his holdings (Genesis 42–47).   He didn’t want to send all of his sons to purchase food in Egypt;   he especially wanted to keep his youngest, Benjamin, safe at home with him.   He couldn’t bear the thought of losing another child, as he thought he had lost Joseph.

While, according to ancient tradition, Jacob saw his material possessions as a blessing from God, he realized over time that his greatest blessing was the family God had given him.   It was not a perfect family, to be sure.   It had its fair share of favoritism, resentment, and anger.   But in the end, Jacob’s actions showed that those relationships, even if flawed, were more precious than any of the material possessions he had gained by deceiving his own father and brother.

We can all relate to the kind of change of heart Jacob experienced.   Haven’t we all learned, in one way or another, to value people more than things?   Maybe in our later years, we realize that the things we sought after in our younger days aren’t as important as we thought.   We discover that the “abundance” we once pursued, whether career, possessions, or wealth, doesn’t really have as much value as our closest relationships.   And on top of that, we might begin to see how precious our relationship with Jesus is.

Let’s learn from Jacob.   Let’s remember to value what is most important.   We can be grateful for all the ways that God has blessed us materially, but more than that, let’s thank him for our relationships.   Let’s thank him first of all for our relationship with him, but let’s also thank him for all the people he has put into our lives over the years.

Word Among Us