Have you ever done the right thing for the wrong reason? Many hard-working parents these days don’t give enough time to their kids, so they try to make up for it with giving them plenty of money, toys or the latest gadgets. A guy might start attending church because he fancies one of the girls in the youth group. A large donation to a charity might win you a few favours. You sign up for Bible College to please your parents or your pastor.
Esau did just that in Genesis 28:6-9. He wanted to please his parents. He realized that marrying two Canaanite women had gone down like a lead balloon. More than that, he cottoned on that Jacob was going to be away from home for a good while, and what better time could there be to repair the relationship with Dad, get back in his good books, and maybe recover some of his lost credibility, not to mention his lost inheritance.
The sad part is that he really hadn’t changed. There was no real repentance, no seeking after God. He was still influenced by his pagan wives, and he now linked himself with the family of Ishmael, who were written out of the lineage just like himself.
We cannot appease God. Doing something good does not buy us favours. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” It’s all about attitude and intent.
I have a funny little memory of one of our kids trying to put out stock in our shop. The ‘prices’ were scribbled on the cans, and they were all put in the wrong places. But the look of delight on the face of the one trying to ‘help’ was a joy! It’s the heart that counts. Were we bothered that we had twice the work to put it all right once that one had gone to bed? Not at all!
We sometimes get so hung up about whether we are doing the ‘right thing’. Is it ‘the Lord’s will’? If our hearts are warm towards him, and we get the relationship right, if we love him with all our hearts, then I don’t think we can go far wrong.