Your Birthright

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Birthrights may not be something people think too much about anymore. Particularly in Western society, the concept of an eldest child acquiring all a parent's possessions seems archaic. But the other day, for some reason, I was thinking about it.

More often than not we may feel that what's rightfully due us comes from other mortals. Bosses, colleagues, companies, parents, spouses are often seen as the sources of one's inheritance, or at least of the compensation we deserve.

But through getting a clearer understanding of who we really are, we can learn that God gives us our birthright. Actually, everything we need is from Him, never at the mercy of others.

So, what can you do if you're feeling you've missed out somehow? Or that someone else is getting all the credit for what you've done? Maybe you're even feeling a little like the brother of the prodigal son, who was devoted to his father, worked long and hard to be faithful, and came in one day to find his wayward brother getting something he felt his brother didn't deserve (but that he certainly did deserve).

Such resentments aren't new. In fact, the Hebrew Scripture tells that they go back thousands of years, to when Jacob and Esau, two brothers, struggled to get their father's blessing. This caused the family great turmoil and brought estrangement. But, through the power of God, of Love, they were finally able to forgive each other and reconcile their differences (see Gen., Chaps. 25-33). And although because of deception and cowardice the birthright was not properly or legally bestowed on the eldest, neither one lacked in terms of prosperity. Both wound up satisfied.

But what about us? Yes, we all have a birthright. Instead of coming from our human parents, our birthright comes directly from our God. Our divine Father and Mother. And instead of being in material possessions, our inheritance lies essentially in an identity from Him - one that is all good, that is inseparable from all that God is. And that includes all that He has.

God has bestowed all good on His creation - on you and me. Good is our birthright and our God-given identity. The Bible records God as saying: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness .... And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:26, 31). Jesus said: "All things that the Father hath are mine" (John 16:15) and "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).

The life of Christ Jesus shows that his birthright included the ability to master sin. And illness of all kinds. And death. In fact, through his resurrection Jesus proved his identity - his relationship with God - to be the very Son of God. But he showed that it didn't stop with him, and that as God's child you have dominion over all the trouble you may be facing because you have inherited only good from God. It is God's "good pleasure" to give you your birthright. This is first expressed in ideas, then in human experience. Ideas of infallible guidance are there for us all when we turn to Him to find them. Ideas that direct our lives and protect us are unending when we find out who God is. Thoughts of His grace provide for each of us when we pray and trust ourselves to His care. And we can do this by cultivating a deeper, more spiritual sense of our relationship with God.

It is a misconception that one gets only what one negotiates; our God-given birthright can't be usurped or squandered, but is infinite and generously given to each son, each daughter.

Our spiritual heritage, our birthright, can be seen in the qualities of God that we reflect. Instead of being abstract, spiritual qualities are concrete expressions of God. For example, it was the good qualities of love, wisdom, and spiritual understanding that enabled Jacob and Esau to provide for their families as well as reunite peaceably.

This paper's founder wrote, "When we understand man's true birthright, that he is 'born, not ... of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,' we shall understand that man is the offspring of Spirit ...; recognize him through spiritual, and not material laws; and regard him as spiritual, and not material" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Miscellaneous Writings," Pg. 181). This is your birthright and inheritance forever!

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