Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)
- TITLE: A Morsel for a Birthright
By Ernest Yoder
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The aroma of cooking food assailed his nostrils and tantalized his hungry stomach long before he got within sight of the fire, the food, or the cook. What did Mom order the maid to prepare for the evening meal? The sun was still an hour from setting and supper time wasn’t until then. Could he wait that long? He was tired and dirty from a long day of hunting out on the plains that surrounded the little tent city they called home. But most of all he was famished. He wanted nothing more than to get some food between his hollow ribs, clean up, and crash the rest of the evening. His hunting endeavors had yielded nothing to brag about that day.
“They” consisted of himself, Esau; his parents, Isaac and Rebecca; and his twin brother, Jacob and, of course, the servants. The relationships among the members of this family were not exactly hunky-dory. At times life was more endured than enjoyed. As long as everybody minded his or her own business things were tolerable.
The difference between the two brothers was remarkable, especially considering they were twins. Esau represented brawn while Jacob was the brain. Esau frequented the rugged outdoors and delighted in it. Jacob, on the other hand, quietly made himself useful around the tents. For whatever reason, Jacob was the one cooking a stew at this particular time when Esau occasioned on him.
“Hey Jake, what’s cooking?” Esau looked longingly in the kettle. “‘Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!’ ” (Ge. 25:30, NIV)
Shrewdly Jacob replied, “Sure, but I want your birthright for this stew.”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Esau shot back, incredulously.
“Nope, not kidding,” said Jacob. “He’s biting,” he thought to himself.
By now Esau’s “instant gratification” character was getting the better of him. He was wavering as he foolishly put his thoughts into words, “This birthright won’t do me any good if I’m about to die.”
Jacob pressed his advantage and challenged Esau to make it official. “Swear to me that you mean what you are saying.” The Bible says that Esau then swore an oath and sold his birthright to Jacob.
The Bible also says that Esau came to bitterly regret his actions of that day. (He. 12:16-17) Impulsive cravings like his have been the nemesis of millions. Satan uses this motivation to ensnare us. How many times have “Esau” situations resulted in financial indebtedness, strained and broken relationships (which happened to Esau’s family) or a rat race of a life from trying to “keep up with the Joneses” to mention a few. But the saddest result occurs when one sacrifices eternal life for the fleeting satisfaction of sensual impulses. One gains only a morsel in giving up the greatest birthright, or inheritance, of all.
In Mt. 6:25-34 Jesus dealt with this human problem of being too attached to earthly things and worrying about not being able to get them when we want them. If Esau would have followed advice such as Jesus gave he would have avoided his bitterest regret and gotten a good home cooked meal to boot. All he needed to do was wait until the time was right. While Jacob’s behavior was not stellar by any standard Esau’s biggest problem was not his brother. Neither was it his hunger. His problem was a character problem. What he wanted he wanted now. Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV). It was not wrong for Esau to satisfy his ravenous appetite. But it was wrong for his appetite to be first in his life while what God wanted for him was further down his list of priorities.
The world keeps cooking up many different recipes for us to go after and neglect the more valuable things that God wants us to have and enjoy. In comparison what’s in the world’s pot is only a morsel. If we seek Him and His kingdom first instead of desiring and worrying about the world’s morsels we will have much greater enjoyment and peace of mind. Don’t let your “Esau impulse” attract you to the aroma of the world’s cooking pot. A morsel for a birthright is a poor bargain.
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