Imagine for a moment that you were homeless. The only thing to your name was a tattered and worn out tent in which you spent your nights. And then, out of the blue, someone offers you free residence in a beautiful mansion. The only requirement is that you would have to give up the tent. Would you take the offer? Of course!
But now imagine this scenario in reverse. You are living in a mansion and someone offers you an old tent. The only requirement to obtain the tent is that you must give up the mansion. Would you take it? Probably not.
Unfortunately, it is the latter of the two scenarios that is referenced in Hebrews 12. The writer alludes to the story of Esau in Genesis 25. Esau has returned from a hunting trip and is hungry. He comes home to find his brother cooking a meal. To our surprise Esau agrees to give up his inheritance in exchange for one meal!
The author calls us to obviously not be like Esau. At first you may chuckle at the thought of ever committing such an act. And yet, if we look deeply into our hearts we do at times make a similar exchange. This trade takes place when we pursue our joy and happiness in something other than God. When we pursue pleasure in disobedience to Christ we make the same mistake of Esau. We are exchanging the beauty and glory and majesty of God for something that is fleeting and will not satisfy in the long run. We allow ourselves to fall victim to a desire for instant gratification over long term gain.
And so, we are reminded of the importance of setting our focus on what will truly satisfy in life. Throughout Scripture God gives us direction in how to live our lives. These rules and guidelines are always meant for our good. They are designed to protect us from what can harm us. They are intended to direct our focus and attention on what will really bring us joy, a relationship with Jesus Christ.
So how do we keep from making the same mistake of Esau? By keeping our focus fully upon the One who can truly satisfy our hearts. By immersing ourselves in the rich treasure of God’ Word allowing it to shape our desires. By seeking God in prayer, asking Him to create in us a desire for more of Him. By surrounding ourselves with other believers in authentic community to encourage and inspire us to seek Him more.
As we do this we can have our minds transformed to understand what is really valuable and what will truly satisfy us in this life.