Monthly Archives: March 2009

Sowing and Weeping


Jacob was a trickster.  He tricked his older brother into selling his birthright (i.e., a double portion of his father’s inheritance and leadership of the family) for a bowl of stew!  Then he tricked his father into giving him the blessing that was meant for the eldest son, the very same brother.  Here’s how it went down.

Jacob’s mom, who liked him best, overheard Dad tell brother Esau to cook up a special meal…it was time for the “I’m about to die blessing.”  Esau had been waiting for this for years.  It had the power to transform his life.  He put on his hunting clothes and headed for the deer blind.

Meanwhile, Mom let Jacob in on the circumstances and shared her plan to steal the blessing.  While she cooked dinner for Dad, she had Jacob dress up like a goat (since Esau was quite hairy) and put on his brother’s best clothes.  Then, dinner in hand, Jacob went in to his dad and pretended to be Esau.

Dad, being blind and hard of hearing because of his age, couldn’t tell the difference between the boys without closer inspection.  He beckoned Jacob closer so that he could check for fur and get the smell of him (Esau was a bit gamey).  Jacob with his goat fur and Esau’s clothes passed muster and proceded to get blessed.

By the time Esau arrived with his dad’s favorite meal, it was too late.  These types of blessings weren’t the kind you could reload and refire.  They were one-shot wonders of the most potent variety.  Esau was understandably furious and ready to murder his younger brother, so Jacob grabbed his knapsack and headed for safer territories.

This led him to Uncle Laban’s (on his mother’s side of the family).  Now trickster-ing ran in the family.  Jacob had it.  His momma had it.  And her brother really had it.  Jacob was about to get a spoonful of his own medicine.

As soon as Jacob arrived, he fell head over heals for his cousin, Rachel.  He was so convinced of his love for her that he offered Uncle Laban a deal.  Seven years of shepherding work for the hand of his daughter.  Uncle Laban had already married off his sister to Abraham’s wealthy side of the family.  Maybe this marriage could bring some folding money his way.

Uncle Laban consented.  Jacob worked his tail off.  Seven years passed.  The marriage date arrived, and Uncle Laban threw a huge party – lots of drinking, then more drinking, a few belly shots, a pitcher of mojitos and a mind eraser or two…  Suffice to say, Jacob was hammered, sloshed, tanked, blitzed, bombed, wrecked, three sheets to the wind…choose your euphemism.

Uncle Laban led him to his tent, then sent his daughter in so that they could consummate the marriage.  Because she was dressed up in her sister’s wedding garb and wearing a wedding veil, and because Jacob was blind drunk, it’s a little understandable that he didn’t recognize that he had the WRONG SISTER!

No joke.  Uncle Laban pulled a fast one and wedded Jacob (the marriage night was the equivalent of a ceremony) to his older daughter Leah instead of Rachel.  The next morning, Jacob fumed, he ranted, he raved…but there was nothing he could do.  He was hitched.

He worked out a deal with Uncle Laban to work seven more years for Rachel’s hand and took it in advance this time.  But Uncle Laban continued to be a thorn in Jacob’s side until he made his getaway two wives later (that’s four total if you’re counting).

Are you sensing any irony in Jacob’s misfortune?  His mom has him dress up and pretend to be his older brother so that he can steal something precious from his blind father.  His uncle has his oldest daughter dress up and pretend to be her younger sister so that she can steal something precious from blind-drunk Jacob.  I’d say he got what he had coming.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7)

In other words, if you plant good seeds, you’ll get a good crop, but if you plant bad seeds…  The principle of sowing and reaping means that good deeds are repaid – and usually with abundance.  You plant one seed in the ground, and it grows into many new seeds.  But the principle works both ways.  Bad deeds are also repaid.  Hosea said it like this:

They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7)

When we try to get some bad deeds past God, we often get back much more than we bargained for.

Jacob did.  Sisters competing with each other for sons is no picnic, and four wives instead of one is not the lottery that some men might think it is.

Rachel did.  She never saw her favorite son again, never met her daughters-in-law, never held her grandchildren.

Uncle Laban did.  Jacob eventually bested him in the trickster competition and made off with the largest part of the flock, both Laban’s daughters and all twelve of his grandchildren.

Sometimes we sow and reap; sometimes we sow and weep.

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Filed under Abraham, christianity, deception, Esau, jacob, Leah, marriage, Rachel, sin, Sowing and reaping

Tru Dat!


Poster for Watchmen movie.

Had to Be a Sacrifice

It’s true.  For the world to be at peace, there had to be a sacrifice, but I don’t think this guy would be able to save us from ourselves.  Only one Superhero could do that, and His name is Jesus, the Christ.  When He returns, we will have the peace that so many promise.

Superhero stories are all based, at least in part, on the story of Jesus Christ.  They can’t help it.  You can’t tell a story about saving the world or selfless sacrifice without borrowing from what Jesus did for us.  We love these stories, because they resonate with that part of our heart that longs for a Savior.  It’s okay for us to enjoy most of them, but we should always remember where they came from.

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Filed under Christ, christianity, Jesus, sacrifice, Salvation, Savior, Serving Others, superhero

Upgrade


It’s been a long year, and it’s only March.  I’ve been on the road 47 of the last 65 days, spent over 220 hours in meetings, been on 35 airplanes for over 100 hours and waited no telling how long in airports between flights.  I’m tired.  I mss my family.  I’m ready to go home.

I was the first one on the plane to Bangkok, and I had been in my seat for about ten minutes when a flight attendant came to see me.

“Are you Mr. Kientz?”

“Yes, I am.”

“May I see your boarding pass?”

“Sure, here it is.”

“Here’s your new boarding pass.  You’ve been upgraded to business class.”

“Upgrade.”

Weary travelers the world over long to hear that word.  Thos who frequent business class don’t understand the envy we economy class fliers feel when they draw the curtain between us and the priveledged.  Bigger seats, more leg room, fancy meals, better movies on bigger screens, a better blanket, a bigger pillow….ahhhh….Upgrade!

As I settled into my seat, very thankful for the unexpected blessing, I opened my Bible to John 2.  It begins with Jesus attending a wedding.  The host of the wedding ran out of wine, and Jesus’ mother brought the problem to Jesus.  In his first earthly miracle, Jesus turned as much as 180 gallons of normal water into wine that was even better than what the party-goers had been drinking before.

Upgrade.

The very next story tells of Jesus chasing all the money changers and those selling animals for sacrifice out of the temple.  He was incensed that they had turned His Father’s house into a market where people profited off the worship of the Lord, so he put together some cords to fashion a whip and began cleaning house.

Upgrade.

Chapter 2 ends with the Jews asking Jesus to perform a miracle to prove His authority.  He tells them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days, I will raise it up.”  Of course, He wasn’t talking about the building He had just cleaned out.  He was talking about the temple of His body.  Jesus knew that His purpose was to die for our sins.  But His death was just the end of the beginning, because He would raise His body back from death to life.  He would still have a body, but the new body could fly and walk throught walls!

Upgrade.

But that’s just the smallest part, because Jesus’ death did so much more!  It paid for every sin we have ever committed or ever will.  It bought us life with God for all eternity if we will just leave our economy class seat and agree to move to first class, where we will get our own new bodies one day – bodies that won’t get sick or die – bodies that won’t be tempted to sin – bodies set free to love God without reservation or selfishness and love each other without resentment, bitterness, or jealousy and love ourselves without guilt or shame!

Upgrade.

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Why I Love My Mae Baan


You may remember my post about my confusion over a note our mae baan (Thai for house help) left us one day.  Here’s the note she left us this week:

I Want Comfort...Touch of Love...

It almost breaks your heart.  We must be the most heartless people she’s ever worked for in order for her to feel that she had to write out such a desperate call for love and attention.

I have to admit, I feel a little guilty every time I read it even though I know what she’s trying to say.  She’s learning some English, but it still doesn’t always come out the way she wants it to.

She wants the cleaning products, “Comfort” and “Touch of Love” to help her clean the bathroom.

(Even so, maybe we should tell her how much we appreciate her more often.)

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Filed under communication, culture, Culture Shock, funny, humor, Just for fun, Thailand