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The Bible tells the story of Esau selling his birthright to his younger brother Jacob (later renamed Israel) for a bowl of soup. (Genesis 25:29-34) With the birthright went the title of patriarch over 12 tribes of Israel... tribes which might have been known as the tribes of Esau had it not been for that bowl of soup.

We meet hundreds of people who see the truth of what we are saying (i.e. that God expects obedience to the teachings of Jesus), but one by one they forfeit their chance to be part of the eternal kingdom that Jesus came to establish. And they do it for the most worthless baubles.

"I couldn't live in a country that doesn't have picante sauce," wrote an overweight Texas lawyer in the most classic repeat of Esau's myopia. It was a hair dryer that stopped a single mum from Melbourne, a collection of Abba records that proved too irresistible for a bank teller from Wollongong, and freedom to come and go as he wished that sent a beggar in India back to the streets.

For some it was a family pet; for others a pack of cigarettes; for one her make-up.

Most excuses for rejecting the teachings of Jesus seem less trivial: attachments to family and friends; a home, job, and/or business; national loyalties. The biggest barrier is just fear--fear of starving; fear of the unknown; fear of what people will think; fear of making a mistake...

But none of these excuses constitutes a valid reason not to risk all that you have and are on obedience to the Son of God.

Those who hold back are doomed to live their spiritual lives only in terms of what 'might have been'. They'll never find satisfaction in the games of religion, but throughout their lives they will have the knowledge that they pawned the inheritance God offered them through Jesus, for the comfortable compromises being offered by the system.

They will argue that the safe decision was the wise one. Like Esau, they will reason that, at least they didn't starve to death... that just surviving was worth the loss of the inheritance.

But will they ever be able to convince God?

(See also As the World Turns.)

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