…i’ve got plenty, thanks…

Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it. (Genesis 33:11 ESV)

Jacob had feared this moment for quite some time. He had left his family’s homeland and set out for a new life to avoid this very encounter. He had dreaded the inevitable reunion with Esau because the last stripe that had been painted between them was a promise for revenge; revenge to the detriment of Jacob’s mortality.

But, as things we fear often do, this meeting became more of a celebration than an execution and we see Jacob caught off guard. The schemer, the back-room dealer, the joker, the “midnight toker” had been bested by the one thing that we rarely plan for, and the one thing that always seems to surprise the world: grace. On his heels with every response, you can see the obvious trouble Jacob is having trying to process this unexpected turn. Not to mention that Esau isn’t only glad to see his little, hairless brother, but he wants to travel with him, take that last family vacation they missed when Jacob stole off to Uncle Laban’s “World Famous Striped Sheep Farms”. Esau wants to hang out, to catch up, to “kick it” (as the kids are saying these days). How could Jacob possibly have been prepared for that? And surely, being who he was, his uneasiness was fueled by his belief that there was a “catch”, he had to be in the throws of a set-up…had to be, because that’s how he would have done it.

None the less, one of the most incredible things happens in verse 11. Jacob, who took Esau’s birthright in exchange for soup, who took his first-born blessing by subterfuge, who ended up getting the better of his uncle / father-in-law (very West Virginia) by taking his two daughters AND unloading most of the flocks as he stole away in the night…this Jacob who has only known greed and self-preservation and an “at-all-costs” prosperity methodology, HE offers his brother gifts and presents. While that may not be the most impressive thing in the story, for certainly he could still be attempting to buy Esau’s favor and keep that red fur-ball from attacking him, what Jacob says shows just how much recent events have changed him.

As Jacob wrestled with God (Genesis 32) he was forced to say his name. He was forced to do the thing that he had failed to do in Isaac’s tent. He had to own up to who he really was, not who he could con people into believing that he was, but who he was truly. And now, standing in front of his brother, he looks at him and says with a humble satisfaction, “I have enough”.

Do we ever say that? Do we ever think that we have “enough”? Or do we tend to fall to the side of the issue that is perpetually wondering what a house with 500 more square feet would do for us, or a car that was worth about $10k more, or how our lives would be so much more bearable if we just made about twice as much…and the list goes on: more groceries, a pool, private school for the kids, a better position at work, a thinner waist line, blah, blah, blah…

I wonder if that desire isn’t just a natural bi-product of life in America, but the result of a life that hasn’t spent much time, if any, wrestling with God. Our perspective seems to be much more clear, and the things that we possess seem to be much more useful when we aren’t focused on them as much as we are focused on Him.

Paul told the church at Philippi that there really was no difference for him regarding his financial condition, his physical comfort, or even his life’s continuation. For him, there was God…and then everything else just sort of fell into place and made sense. Look closely at the order of these two verses:

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Then, just two verses later we read this man, who has told us WHAT to focus on, tell us WHY it’s important:

Philippians 4:11
…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

And I believe the same to be true for us. The more we avoid wrestling with God, which requires us to own up to our own frailties, failures, and faults, the more dissatisfied we will be with things that were never meant to satisfy us in the first place. But when we take hold of the Figure in the dark, when we grab His arms and determine that no matter how ugly it gets, or how brutal it becomes we aren’t letting go…we begin to see clearly as the sun rises in our hearts, and the things of earth “grow strangely dim”. Not that we can’t see them, but by His light we can begin to truly see them for what they are. And in that place we can stand content and say, “I have enough.” It is gazing upon the true, honorable, pure, lovely, commendable face of God that makes it possible for us to stop fighting so hard for things that will not matter past the drying of the morning dew.

Do you have enough?

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