Esau exclaimed, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice. First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?”
Relate: Way, way, way back in the day I used to be a summer camp counselor. Every year my denomination, the Assemblies of God, would hold one week of kids and one week of teen camp each summer. From the age of 15 all the way through my college years, I was a counselor and my cabin would either win or come in a very close second. It didn’t matter who they put in my cabin. I’d get the little kids, the scrubs, the problem children. So what. We were gonna win anyway and everybody knew it.
The reason for this was because of the name. My cabin was the Goodfellas. We had a reputation. The very first night of camp I would tell my campers that they were stepping into a tradition of excellence. I’d have veteran campers tell the kids how awesome we had been in previous years. I let them know right from the start that there was no question, we were the best. I’d also go to kids who had been in my cabin previous years and remind them that they were “Goodfellas for life.” Even as they were competing in other cabins they would still hang out with us, give the younger kids tips and tricks, etc. For years, the name “Goodfellas” meant something at that camp. And every single year those boys stepped up to the expectation and lived it out. They might get smoked in the relay races or the kickball games. Some things can’t be controlled. But we would have the cleanest cabin, the best spirit, and they would study harder than anyone for the Bible drills and those things. They really believed that they were Goodfellas.
React: Jacob also lived up to his name. Or it might be better to say that he lived down to his name. He tricked his brother out of his inheritance. He tricked his father into the blessing. And his “trickery” ended up having him running for his life and having a running feud with his uncle who gave as well as he got in the deception game. He lived exactly as he was expected to live.
Parents, what are we telling our children? Teachers, what are we telling our students? Every time we tell our child in frustration, “Why can’t you ever do anything right?!” We are guaranteeing that they will likely continue to mess up in exactly the same way. We are telling them that we expect them to fail. And they live up to our expectations. This obviously doesn’t mean we lie to them. I wouldn’t tell a kid who will never come close to six feet tall that he’s gonna be the next Jarret Allen. But I might share how hard Muggsy Bogues worked to get where he did. Reward hard work. Reward good behavior. And tell them how far that will get them. Tell them how awesome you believe they can be… and mean it. When we see their potential through God’s eyes and then share with them what He sees… the sky is the limit. We need to raise the bar and then stand back amazed as they, with God’s help and our encouragement, clear it.
Help me to speak life. Give me eyes to see what You see in those around me. Give me a vision not only for what You have in my own life but also what You are planning in the lives of my children, my students, my neighbors, and everyone around me. Help me to help them raise the bar in their lives. Help me to expect more from them so that they might truly believe that they are capable of greater things. Help me to believe.
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To read previous devotionals taken from the January 12th The River Walk devotionals click below: