by Brian Sharpe
I love when I listen to a speaker and they teach on a story from the Bible that I know well, and they bring out points I never saw.
This happened to me a couple weeks ago, when I was on the senior high retreat at Black Lake Bible Camp. The speaker taught the story of Esau trading his birthright for some soup his brother Jacob made. It was a big deal to be the firstborn son in that culture. Esau, as the firstborn son, had the responsibility to take care of the family when his dad died. Because of this, Esau and all firstborns in that culture were given more of an inheritance.
Esau was a hunter. On the day this story takes place, Esau went on a hunt. While out he did not find anything. He was getting hungry, so he decided to head home. On his way home, he just kept getting hungrier. When he was close to home he saw his brother Jacob and smelled a soup or lentil stew that Jacob had made.
Jacob’s name meant “deceiver,” and he was just that. Esau asked his brother for some soup. Jacob asked, “What do I get in return?” Then Jacob told Esau: give me your birthright and I will give you some soup and bread.
Esau agreed to do it! This was a huge mistake on Esau’s part. God made him the firstborn and gave him the responsibility that came with that.
Most of us have heard this story before. The point the speaker made was that we often are willing to sacrifice who God made us to be for what we want at the time. This hit me hard. I know too often I sacrifice who God wants me to be for wants that I have. I know that I spend way too much time watching or reading about sports. God created me to be a disciple, a loving father and husband, and I can sacrifice that by choosing to spend my time, selfishly, on my own wants.
We all need to evaluate how we invest the time God gave us. Tomina and I just spent some time setting goals for us individually and as a family. We set these goals to help us make sure that we are focusing on who God created us to be as a family.
It is far too easy to just live life reactively. It is harder to live a proactive life. When we live reactively we are focused on the here-and-now and not on where God desires us to be in the future. Please take time this week and evaluate how you are giving up your birthright as a son or daughter of God for some soup. How are you growing into the person God created you to be and what is holding you back from surrendering your whole life to God?