Having been to many cemeteries over the years, whether in the US or abroad, it can be amazing to see what people do as monuments. A war leader or emperor may have one. Rich and noble families would often have such a monument, collecting the family remains throughout history. It isn’t new, by any stretch. David and many of his descendants were buried near one another.
Abraham may or may not have intended to buy a family burial plot, but it ended up being such for a few generations. What is peculiar about Jacob’s time is that his favorite wife, Rachael, was not buried there. His first wife, Leah, who wasn’t the preferred one, was the one buried there, and where Jacob would be buried alongside.
Family land has been fought over long before Jesus walked the earth. Even today, families fight over land and property fraying (if not destroying) family ties and loyalties. In some places, the national lines that divide governments attempt to divide families, yet instead, the family ties override the national division.
The bitter part of all of this is that people often fight over that which is dead and gone. Other times, their plans (buried with Rachael the favorite) are overridden by circumstances (buried with second best).
All the battles and all the woes are only for a time. As much as an inheritance (even the simple family burial plot) may seem important at the time, it more often magnifies the pettiness of worldly affairs. Dust-to-Dust.
That has long been one of the hallmarks of the Christian faith…this world is not your home. Or, said another way, your true inheritance is not here.
Paul calls out this inheritance as something that crosses blood, and culture, and nation, and class, and gender. This imperishable seed of Abraham is not just something to grasp, it has already been given.
1) When you hear “inheritance” what is the first thing that comes to mind?
2) Why do Christians often fight over earthly inheritance or money when they have the imperishable inheritance?
3) How might a daily reminder of your eternal inheritance change how you interact with others in the world? What can you do to put that reminder front-and-center in your life?
God, may we keep our eternal home perpetually in mind, along with all those with whom we want to share it. Amen.