There are some “thinkers” in our culture who are wondering about where we are as a nation at this moment in time. They are raising questions about what lies ahead . . . and some are also expressing concern, and perhaps confusion, about what has been left behind in our wake. Of course, those thoughts and concerns have to do with the direction we are headed in . . . and be assured that we are moving in a direction, because nothing in this universe is sitting still . . . and our direction is a consequence of choices we have made as a people.
The question I have posed above concerns our supposed “Birthright.” Let me be clear that I personally believe each and every American has (well, actually had up until about 1990), a God-given birthright. So, for clarity purposes . . . let me set up a working definition of what it is that I mean by the term birthright. It is a term that I use to refer to something that is acquired or inherited at birth . . . something to which one has the reasonable expectation of one day possessing as his or her own. Something that adds a new dimension or value to life, something provided by those who went before you, and were motivated and concerned for you and a desired that you do well . . . but in turn was something that you were expected to protect and pass along to those who will follow you.
I believe the great American-birthright that had long been ingrained in Americans . . . the strong belief . . . that next year will be better than this year . . . and the absolute conviction and confidence that “I will be better off next year;” the great confidence that the USA was the one place on the planet where one could become successful if he or she had a dream and was willing to work hard to make it come to pass. It did not matter where you came from, the color of your skin, where you went to school (or even if you went to school), your family name: if you were in the USA . . . you had an opportunity to realize your dream!
Generation after generation experienced that truth . . . Individual after individual modeled that reality for others to see, but, somewhere along the way, that assurance, the confidence, that conviction, and that belief seems to have been lost. Today, we have a large group of our brightest and best young people ready to graduate from college in a matter of days or weeks and, sadly, they are frightened because they know there are no jobs to be had. Years of preparing for life . . . and it is looking like flipping burgers may be as good as it gets. In survey after survey, older Americans for the first time in history are saying that their children and grandchildren will not enjoy the same opportunities they did.
In Genesis 25, we find the account of two brothers, both sons of Abraham. The brothers were Jacob and Esau. Esau was the oldest brother; thus, according to the custom of the day, the owner of the birthright. That meant he was first in line to inherit the material things belonging to his father . . . but even more importantly it included the blessings and favor of God that was upon his father . . . those precious things would come upon Esau at his dad’s death.
But, in the story, we see Esau makes a foolish decision; a foolish decision made based upon foolish thinking . . . he sold his birthright for a bowl of red beans and rice. His statement was, “What good is it if I starve to death?” Of course, his situation was far from being that serious and he was in no danger of starvation. The real situation was that he didn’t have what he wanted . . . when he wanted it . . . and he was willing to sacrifice his future . . . on the altar of the immediate.
And, of course, that is what has happened to us as we have become “a throw-away society.” We have, quite sadly, traded the things of worth and value in exchange for convenience and comfort. We have exchanged precious family time around the dinner-table for a sack or box of overpriced, greasy, fast food loaded with preservatives and junk that ruins our health . . . in exchange for an exhausted mom earning a 2nd income;
. . . a home . . . in exchange for a bigger, nicer house;
. . . financial security . . . in exchange for a place on mortgage hill;
. . . the blessings of birth . . . in exchange for the convenience of an abortion;
. . . the peace of being debt free . . . in exchange for more stuff;
. . . the peace and security of a society that lives according to the direction and instruction of the Creator, the giver of life . . . in exchange for . . . individual personal preferences;
. . . Honor and Dignity in public service . . . in exchange for partisan politics and absolute commitment to a party agenda regardless of how destructive it is; (“We will just have to pass it so we can see what’s in it”) and
. . . Respect for others . . . in exchange for personal liberties.
We have drifted so far off-course, we have become like a giant ocean-liner that has lost power and is being tossed about by the seas and currents . . . and is in increasing danger of crashing upon the rocks. The truth be told, it is really difficult to even know where we are, or to determine if it is even possible for us to get back to safe harbor again.
There are so many things that we once believed were securely nailed down, that are now flapping in the wind. Who would have believed in 1950 that the USA would be wrestling over the definition of marriage in 2013? Struggling with what ought to be the language used? Trying to decide who could live inside our national boundaries? What religious freedom meant and for whom it was intended? Would there have even been a question about a citizen’s right to have a weapon for home defense? Could there have been a national scandal over a 2nd grade boy stealing a kiss from a pretty girl on the playground?
Can you imagine explaining some of this foolish debate to George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, and those fine men who sacrificed so much for this nation?
It seems to me . . . that we have, indeed, acted like Esau and have sold our birthright, and we sold it just as he did . . . as a foolish decision . . . made based upon foolish thinking . . . and while it was going on, the majority of us merely ignored it and remained silent. Whatever that special thing was that Americans had, and I described above as our “birthright,” is gone . . . lost!!
I, personally, believe that it was a special gift from God . . . something that was generated within us while we were a people who largely believed in God and honored him across our land with daily prayer and Bible reading as the school day began. Back at a time when we were a people who were taught that He rewards those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11: 6).
Today, the debate is if God even exists. Just how is it that we have become so stupid?
We truly are a nation that was created by geniuses . . . and is now being governed by idiots! How did this happen?