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Selfish or Selfless?

Recorded on July 8th, 2018

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Living and working with others is tough, but that’s not a reason to go and try to escape interactions.

Transcripts of Sermon:

[Music] what you’re gonna get in a pastor who did not grow up in church and then once she did start going to church only went to contemporary churches that I don’t know all the hymns that you know so we might get a few of those Tom’s pointed out some that are in the safety zone and then there’s this website that I go to that they have listed all the different hymns but they give you scriptures that are hymns that point to different scriptures and different verses so that’s how I got here and apparently we all learned one new together so thank you for braving it with us one of the things that I love about hymns and about just worshiping God in general is they are little mini sermons every hymn every contemporary worship song that you sing is a way of knowing more about God and understanding him better and the best thing about them is because they have a tune underneath them they can stick in your head all day long and so when you’re needing something from God more often than not what I find him responding to me with is with music with words that are lift me up with words that remind me of who he is and how much God loves me so I look forward to learning more of those songs so that they can be parts of the way that God speaks to me throughout the week I’m gonna get into my sermon now and we’re gonna do it a little differently this week if that’s ok with you I’m gonna do our scripture kind of in the middle of the sermon and I’ll stop and I’ll read it to you then but I wanted to start with kind of a beginning and the scripture really points very directly to a story I want us to read and so I want it to be fresh in your minds and I don’t want to have to read you to have to read through it twice this week we are going to be talking about the way that we work and live with others if you’re a human which most of us in here are I know that for meeting you you have experienced that life with people can be difficult in fact if you’ve known me very long I often say ministry would be so easy if it weren’t for people right or life would be so easy if it weren’t for people because really the stuff that gets us mixed up in this world happens through relationships you can see it in my house every day with the way my children respond to one another often the way that we behave as humans begins as infants as all about me right you think about a baby and a baby is only worried about what it needs it needs food it needs clothing it needs its diaper changed and it lets you know that and the baby does not care what time that is it could be 2 a.m. 3 a.m. or 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. right and that continues throughout childhood you know when my children are fighting what they’re fighting over means nothing but to them in that moment it is the most important thing in the world who gets to sit in the front seat I’m just saying right but then as we get into adulthood we look at others and we experience others as how they relate to us so when I’m driving and you cut me off I am mad at you because of how you did not drive the way I think you should be driving I don’t know that you don’t have a sick person in the car trying to get to the hospital all i care is that you’ve infringe don my life you’re not doing things the way i want you to or if you don’t follow the generally accepted rules of standing in line you know there is wolves to standing in line and if you don’t follow those or if you cut in line I’m mad at you you and I cannot be friends right because you’re infringing on what I think is the right way to do things and we all have our own ideas about what we think is the right way to live the right way to interact with someone another we have expectations about how relationships are go relationships with strangers relationships with their closest family members we all have them and there is this show some of you may know it that started over 20 years ago – it’s called Jerry Springer anybody here heard of the Jerry Springer Show now if you don’t know what the Jerry Springer Show is it is this daytime hullabaloo that happens and I think it’s still on TV I didn’t I forgot to check to make sure but when I think about relationships and how messy they can be I often think of the Jerry Springer Show because although a lot of it can be faked and it’s it’s made bigger than what it normally is in life to make television more interesting there’s some real truth in it there they’re touching on this one strain in our lives that’s always there and that’s relationship trauma relationship trauma and they’re making money off the backs of other people’s relationship trauma and the way they make money is that we can all relate to it no matter how crazy it is there’s something in that trauma that we can relate to because as humans our biggest hurts in life more often than not tend to flow from relational trauma and we carry that trauma around with us longer than we tend to carry anything else because relationships really can hurt now relationship trauma is a part of being a part of this world the first relational trauma that we ever experienced happened in the Garden of Eden the very very beginning of time Adam and Eve broke relationship with God because what they wanted was more important to them in that moment than their relationship with God so in a moment of weakness in a moment of temptation they chose to eat of the fruit and in doing so they broke relationship with God you see what they wanted for themselves interfered with their relationship with God and that’s still true for every relationship you’re going to experience in life because we are inherently selfish beings we are inherently people who are created wired for survival and in order to survive we have to look out for ourselves and so in order to be self less we have to act against our very internal inherent nature so today we are gonna look at the story of Jacob and Esau Jacob and Esau are brothers and they experienced 11 chapters of turmoil in their relationship in the book of Genesis can you believe that 11 chapters Adam and Eve are like 1 or 2 Jacob and Esau their struggle their relationship dynamic spans 11 chapters in the Bible so I’m gonna pray before we get started but we are gonna be turning to Genesis 25 and starting in verse 19 but before we go there let’s go to God god I thank you so much for this opportunity to share your word lord I pray that you empty me of myself and fill me completely with the Holy Spirit so that the words that are shared here today are your words meant specifically for each person here we all carry with us the ripple effects of different relationships God and I pray that you speak individually to every heart here today you praying that you speak encouraging words perhaps some challenging words God but also some healing words today as we understand how we can better relate with those around us it’s in the name and it’s in the name of Jesus that we ask this of you God amen so Genesis 24 25 verses 19 through 18 I read from the New International Version if that helps you today but it’s also listed in your bulletin so you can read along right here this is the account of the family line of favor of Abraham’s son Isaac Abraham became the father of Isaac and Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebecca daughter of bethuel the Armenian from patum Aram and the sister of Laban the Armenian Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was childless the Lord answered his prayer and his wife Rebecca became pregnant the babies jostle each other within her and she said why is this happening to me so she went and inquired of the Lord the Lord said to her two nations are in your womb and two peoples from within you will be separated one people will be stronger than the other and the older will serve the younger when the time came for her to give birth there were twin boys in her womb the first to come out was red and his whole body was like a hairy garment so they named him Esau after this his brother came out with his hand grasping Esau’s heel so he was named Jacob Isaac was 60 years old when Rebecca gave birth to them verse 27 tells us the boys grew up in Esau became a skillful hunter a man of the open country while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents Isaac who had a taste for wild game loved Esau but Rebekah loved Jacob the Word of God for the people of God indeed y’all I read this story and I think did these boys ever even have a chance at a good relationship in their mother’s womb they began to battle for position for their place in this world Jacob was grasping Esau’s heel not only that but it wasn’t printed in your bulletin and I’m sorry for that but not only that in verse 27 it says the boys grew up and as the boys grew up Isaac the father loved Esau better and Rebekah the mother loved Jacob the most now I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen any drama happen from parents who have favorites and amongst their children right so these boys didn’t get to be set out very well in their relationship together and what’s important especially in our times I guess it could be easy to understand how it would be hard to serve your brother I mean that’s just hard to think you’d be lower than somebody life in general but your brother and then then your younger brother would be the one that you would serve we still have those birthright kind of order thoughts in our heads but at a time like this and the time of Jacob and Esau what’s important to understand is that they all lived in something that was called up a table now this was just a way of growing and doing community together so boys stayed in their family Pattabhi their entire lives girls stayed there until they got married but once they got married they went lived with their husbands family in their patate B et a B that’s what I’m saying and in this Futaba tis the oldest living person say Isaac is the one that’s in charge he is in charge of this entire family group so all of his younger brothers all of his younger brothers children all of those children’s children he is in charge of that entire group of people now Esau being the firstborn among his children has that birth right he has given the opportunity and the privilege of once Isaac passes away he will be in charge of that entire group of people his brothers all of his brothers children and family and all of their descendants children and family until the day he dies and so because of that he’s given a little bit more land he’s given a little bit more money he’s given a lot more responsibility and that’s the birthright but along with the birthright came a blessing a blessing that was spoken over only the firstborn son who was going to get that birthright so not only is he getting all this extra stuff to help him do his job well as leader of that group but he was also getting a blessing that really comes from God through the father to the son so that he would have God’s blessing on him as he ruled over those people so as the firstborn you get the blessing and you get a birthright and it was never heard of that the younger son would get this it was a very odd not right thing for the younger son to get this birthright and the blessing and so when we get on to the next parts of the story it starts to get a little bit interesting because the next thing we see happen with Jacob is any saws that Esau who’s the hunter goes out hunting one day and he comes back to the batad and he’s starving he is hungry hungry hungry and Jacob had made some stew so Esau said to his brother can I have some stew please now any loving brother I’m saying this looking at my child would have said sure here’s some stew my brother but Jacob being the cunning person who was and that’s what part of that name that grasping the heel means that he’s deceitful and a little bit cunning manipulative to get what he wants seize an opportunity and he says to Issa well I’ll gladly give you a bowl of stew if you sell me your birthright think about that for a minute and in fact that’s what we’re gonna be talking about all next week is this little piece right here so I’m not going to go into it too deeply but Esau is put up with an idea or there’s a proposition given to him you can have this bowl of stew but you need to give me your birthright if you really want this bowl of stew now what bowl of stew in this world is good enough to exchange your entire birthright but he does it he’s so hungry in that moment now I if you’re like me there’s been moments in your life were in the moment the heat of the moment you’ve made one of those decisions and you regretted it the rest of your life well that’s exactly what happened here in the moment Esau was so overtaken by his hunger that he agreed to this deal and he despised Jacob for it afterwards and their relational turmoil continued but he only had one part of what was happening right he had the birthright but he didn’t have the blessing now God had told Rebecca when the babies were wrestling in her womb that the younger one would indeed serve the older one right and so Rebecca the mama who loves Jacob the most the mama who loves the younger child the most sees an opportunity to do something about God’s promise now when God makes a promise he doesn’t need us to make it happen for him so we need to be careful about that because sometimes we can manipulate our way into what we think God wants when he wanted to do the work himself and that’s what happens here Isaac is getting near the end of his age and he realizes that he needs to pass on the blessing before he passes on and so he tells Esau to go and hunt to kill and to make a stew from what he killed and then to bring it to him and he would give him the blessing so Isaac I mean Esau goes out to hunt and Rebekah says to Isaac says to Jacob go put on the goat skin because remember Esau was really hairy and Isaac couldn’t really but dad couldn’t really see anymore so she knew that he would touch Jacob when Jacob came in with the stew and then she the mama cooked up the stew and gave it to the second-born to take him to the Father to trick him into giving the younger son the blessing I mean this is some real family dysfunction right and that’s exactly what happens Isaac thinks that there is something a little bit wrong but he gives the blessing anyway and in doing this there’s a ton of relational strife that happens in this family Esau is so mad when he finds out this this happens that he threatens to kill his brother Rebekah the mom finds this out tells the second son Jacob to go off into hiding until his brother has a time to cool down which is years and years and years later but the story of Jacob and Esau is a story rife with this idea that what I want for me interferes with how I relate to you what Jacob wanted for himself interfered with how he related with his brother and we do the same things what we want in life interferes with how we relate with others in our lives you see Rebekah broke relationship and had strife in her life or with her in God her actions cost drive between Jacob and Esau her actions caused strife between herself and I and then Isaac he could have done something about this blessing he could have changed what he did but he chose not to and in doing so he continued that strife with his sons and then Jacob broke relationship between him and his brother between him and his father in between him and God and then Esau the victim in this he too broke relationship even though he was righteous and even though he was the victim in the moment Esau sought revenge Esau was so hurt and broken that he put a big wedge in that relationship and that put a wedge in his relationship with himself and Jacob with his self and his mother and with himself and God so even those who have been hurt often do things out of selfish desire instead of selfless desire so this is our natural condition if this is the way we work as humans what hope do we have how do we do differently because it’s written all over our stories there have been people in your life who have caused you significant harm how are you supposed to relate to them and then there’s people in your life who don’t meet your expectations and because they don’t meet your expectations they bother you you don’t want to have anything to do with them or you’re just ill about them all the time you hear this about a lot about in-law situations right you might have a daughter-in-law or a son-in-law or a mother-in-law or a father-in-law who just annoys you something silly because whatever it is that you think they should be or should do they’re not meeting your expectation and so the way you respond to them the way you relate to them stems from that what you want gets in the way of your relationship with that person so what do we do I believe that Jesus gives us two really great examples there’s probably a lot more but I’m going to highlight two the first is the washing of the disciples feet Jesus put a towel around his waist and he washed the feet of the disciples all of the disciples even Judas Judas who was going to send him to death Jesus washed his feet and then Jesus washed the feet of all the disciples including Peter who would deny him three times while he was on the cross Peter who was the best among them Peter who was solid as a rock but Peter broke relationship with Jesus out of fear Jesus knew this was going to happen and washed his feet anyway now you may be thinking there is no way that I can wash the feet of that person who did that thing to me but what I want to say to you is that you were not better than Jesus I am not better than Jesus and what happened to Jesus was worse than anything that could happen to us and if he could do it then we can do it I’m going to tell you why we can do it because as children of God as believers of God you have the power of Jesus inside of you and so the thing that we’re supposed to do you is we’re supposed to flip the script instead of looking at this person and what they’re not doing or should be doing or all that mess what we need to look to is Jesus instead of focusing on what that person is doing to you or not doing for you you need to focus on who Jesus is and how he wants you to respond in this moment but we’re also not supposed to be doormats my friends we are not supposed to take abuse we are not supposed to open ourselves up to the hurt that people want to infringe upon us because we’re followers of Christ we’re not so what does that mean that means that there are times when you need to dust the dirt off your feet like Jesus did that doesn’t mean you ignore them forever that means you put distance between you and them there are some relationships in your life in which you don’t need to participate every single day there’s some relationships that would be best served by distance between you and that person and if you work with that person you engage with them just as much as you need to if your neighbors with that person you smile and you say hi you don’t need to lend them your ear Jesus dusted his feet off of his family when they couldn’t get behind him and understand who he was and what he did but they came around didn’t they but he wasn’t constantly making the effort he was constantly being kind and loving but he allowed distance to be the buffer and the only way I know to tell you to figure out what you’re supposed to do in your individual situation is to pray to God and ask him about it because what I know is that you can’t change that person or those people we cannot change anybody that’s God’s job the only thing we can change is our response to the situation our response to that person we can take the more selfless Road even if we’re the one being victimized we can choose to be selfless selfless by putting distance in a situation that needs distance and not engaging just because we’re right just because you’re right does not mean that you have a voice in that moment sometimes we’re right and we got to keep our mouth shut because that’s the most god-honoring thing to do in that moment distance and sometimes we need to engage by serving by putting our wants by putting our desires to the back and allowing somebody else’s wants and desires to win out this time it’s like being siblings you can’t always be right and you can’t always be the one that sits in the front seat you want to right but the way to love and to live as Christ loved and lived is to let somebody else sit in the front seat sometimes because it’s just the right thing to do it’s so hard to take the me out of the equation but we can we have the power or in Christ to serve others instead of constantly looking out for ourselves and then to find distance when distance is necessary because sometimes that’s the best way to love and care for somebody who is in your life that you can’t walk away from and is hurting you we are not doormats we’re servants of Christ who told us sometimes to dust off our feet and other times to pick up our towel tied around her waist and to wash that person’s foot because that is what he did he is our leader and we follow him so my call to us today including myself is to think about those places where we’re not forgiving to think about those places where we’re hurt to think about those places where there is relationship dysfunction in our lives and to see what we can do about it don’t ignore it figure out what you can do about it what’s your response today does it need distance or does it need a towel god we pray to you that you would show us in your wisdom and grace what our relationships need today where can we serve where can we change so that there is peace so that life can happen together Jacob and Esau had reconciliation but they never did life together again they never had a rich relationship again God I know that in your power where there is great strife where there is great dysfunction complete healing can happen but that takes both parties participating God show us your will show us your desire and then give us the power to step forward in that in the name of Jesus Christ we pray amen [Music]

Listen while Pastor Rothschild describes sibling rivalry, selling one’s birthright, and why God says it’s alright to shake the dust off your shoes and move on.