Key Verse

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
— Mark 8:36

A Lost Inheritance

Genesis 25:27-34; Hebrews 12:14-17



Leo found that carelessness could have big consequences.

“LEO!” The concerned note in his father’s voice caught Leo’s attention and he stuck his head around the corner of the doorway into the family room. “Yeah . . . did you want me, Dad?”

“Leo, Great-grandfather’s Bible isn’t here on the shelf. Mom says she hasn’t moved it or seen it around the house. Did you take it down for some reason?”

Leo gulped. “Uh . . . yes, I did, Dad. Remember last week we finished our unit on Civil War history in Social Studies? Well, I took the Bible because I wanted to show the kids Abraham Lincoln’s signature in it. They didn’t believe me when I said we had a Bible in our family that he had autographed.”

Leo’s father frowned slightly. “I wish you had asked me before you took the Bible. You know how highly we value it. Where is it now? You did bring it home, didn’t you?”

Leo shrugged. “I guess I did. It’s probably in my backpack.”

“Probably!” his dad exclaimed. “I certainly hope you know where it is, Leo. Go find your backpack right now. That Bible is too precious a possession to treat so lightly.”

Leo sauntered into the hallway and located his backpack beneath his jacket. Unfastening the buckles, he dug through it . . . math book, health book, some papers, but no Bible. Oh, oh! Dad was going to be upset. He lingered in the hallway, trying to remember if he really had put the Bible into his backpack last week after class. Or could the Bible be in his desk at school? Did Mr. Brookings keep it? He just couldn’t remember for sure.

“Well?” his father’s stern voice came from the family room once more. “Did you find your backpack, Leo? Is the Bible there?”

Leo groaned inwardly. He really didn’t want to make his dad feel bad, but he couldn’t remember where the Bible was. I should have been more careful with it, he thought. I guess I’d forgotten how important things like that are to Dad.

His dad came into the hall. One look at Leo’s troubled face gave him the answer. “You didn’t find it,” he said flatly.

“Dad, I’m sure it’s at school. It’s got to be. I guess I just forgot and thought I put it into my backpack. It’s probably in my desk, or maybe Mr. Brookings has it. Anyway, I’m sure I can find it tomorrow.”

His father looked troubled. “Leo, how could you have been so careless? That Bible was to have been yours someday, yet you valued it so little that you can’t even remember what you did with it. It has been a special treasure in our family for years, handed down from father to son. It contained marginal notes made by your great-grandpa when he was pastor of the little church in Minneapolis. It had names and dates recorded in it of when each family member was saved. Its presence in our home has been a visual and spiritual reminder of the Christian heritage we have. And you took it to school without even asking, and then you lost it.”

Leo couldn’t look at his father. Instead he stared down at his tennis shoes and mumbled, “Sorry, Dad. I’ll really look for it tomorrow.”

At school the next day, he looked through his desk. He talked to his teacher. He even tried asking at the office. But he didn’t find the Bible.

Leo didn’t put very much value on the Bible that was a family treasure. In the text for this lesson, we read a story about a young man named Esau who also did not value something of importance. Esau sold his birthright to his younger brother. The birthright was a special blessing usually given by the father to his oldest son. Selling the birthright was a poor choice. Esau lived to be sorry for the decision he made that day.

What kind of choices are you making? Are you putting the right values on the things which are going to count for eternity?