Many a success story has been the result of someone who was willing to seize the day, strike when the iron was hot, and open the door when opportunity knocked – but, are there times when passing up a chance of a lifetime is the better choice?
I think the answer to this question becomes clear in one notable interaction between Jacob and Esau. After a long day of hunting, Esau returned home weak and famished only to be greeted by the smell of the savory stew Jacob had prepared. Rather than acting with compassion, Jacob exploited the plight of his brother. Although he did offer Esau something to eat, it came with one demand: the birthright must be given as payment for the meal. ‘“Look, I am about to die,”’ Esau said. ‘“What good is the birthright to me?”’ But Jacob said, ‘“Swear to me first.”’ So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob,” (Genesis 25:31-33, NIV).
Jacob wasn’t simply making the most of an opportunity – he had become an opportunist. Motivated by self-serving interests, he was willing to abandon the virtue of brotherly love for his own personal gain. He pursued a goal to the detriment of his principles, which resulted in a relationship that was deeply compromised and undermined.
Aspirations are noble. Ambition is commendable. Achievements are laudable. Yet, we would do well to pursue our goals in a way that ensures we are taking advantage of opportunities – not the ones around us.
Has conflict entered your space as a result of the opportunistic choices of others? Take it to the Father. Open your heart, and surrender it all to Him – the pain, the bitterness, the fallout. When you’re ready to work on the relationship, take one step… then take another. You can do it. Walk the path.
Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries
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