Altar Call –
Takers can be changed
There is a tender scene in the 48th
chapter of the Book of Genesis. Jacob, the father of Joseph, is an old man,
sick and dying. His eyesight is failing and he can hardly see.
Hearing about his father’s illness,
Joseph goes to visit Jacob, taking along his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim.
Told that his son Joseph had come to see him, Jacob was excited. He found the
strength to sit up in bed.
Seeing Joseph’s sons, Jacob said, “Bring
them to me so I may bless them.” Jacob took them in his arms and kissed them.
Then he said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God
has allowed me to see your children too.”
Then Jacob blessed Joseph and placing
his hands on the heads of his grandsons, he blessed both of them. Those
observing this scene must surely have wept in the presence of such tender
Earlier in his life Jacob had no
interest in blessing anyone. From birth he had been a taker. He wanted what
belonged to others even if he had to steal it. He cared only about himself. His
name meant “Heel-Grabber” and he lived up to it. He grabbed what he wanted when
he wanted it.
God changed Jacob; even his name was changed – Jacob to Israel. So when it came
time to die, Jacob/Israel was no longer a taker; he was a giver. In this we may
rejoice: takers can be changed into givers.
may take a long time as it did with Jacob. But finally he got it right. He allowed
the Lord to change his heart. So the Bible gives us this beautiful picture of
the dying Jacob passing on to his son and grandsons the blessings of the God of
his fathers. Jacob had finally figured out the plan: God had blessed him so he
could bless others.
before Jacob believed the lie his sons told him – that their brother Joseph had
been killed by wild beasts. Grief tormented Jacob and he never dreamed he would
see his beloved son again. Now, because of the kindness of God, Jacob has seen
the face of his son. He knew God had blessed him and he was eager to pass on
wants them to know the mighty God he has served. The God of his fathers has
been a shepherd and a redeemer to him. Jacob wants his family to love and serve
this same God so that God can keep his promise to make them a great nation.
share our faith with our children and grandchildren is to give them a precious
gift. Children need to hear their parents speak of the several ways God has
blessed them. This encourages them to expect God to bless them too.
father seldom spoke of his faith in God. He was a man of few words. Yet I
learned from his example that he trusted and loved God. I sensed my father’s
disappointment when I told him that God had called me into the ministry. He had
worked hard all his life so that my siblings and I could go to college, a
privilege he never had.
was a farmer. He wanted me to study agriculture at Auburn and help him improve our
farm. My decision to enter the ministry ended his dream for me though he never
verbalized that feeling to me. He said very little. But in saying nothing, he
withheld his blessing from me. I realized years later that my slowness to
embrace the ministry was influenced by my father’s refusal to give me his
As the years passed Dad did find ways to
give me his blessing. Finally hearing him tell me he loved me and that he was
proud of me made a profound difference. His blessing released me into a new
freedom to enjoy being the person I felt God had called to be. And it gave me
an even greater love for my father.
blesses us so that we can bless others – and especially our children. Children
who never receive the blessing of their parents find it difficult to embrace
their true identity and fully enjoy life. Words fitly spoken can cheer the
soul. Since we know not what a day may bring forth, we should not delay until
“tomorrow” what we can do – and say – today by way of blessing those we love.
children and grandchildren need to hear from our own lips about those times
when we experienced the kindness of God. They need to know that while we found life
difficult, as all people do, that it is the difficulty of life that drives us
to realize how much we need God. And that when we turn to God, instead of being
angry with us, we discover that God wants to bless us! Then, embracing God’s
blessings we discover, as Jacob did, that it is God’s plan for us to pass on
his blessings to those dearest to us.
if you are a taker as Jacob was early on, this might be a good time to ask the
good Lord to change you like he changed Jacob. Then you can end up being a
giver whose memory will be cherished. Is there someone you need to bless today?
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