Wednesday, January 13

Despising your birthright

Scripture: Genesis 25-26, Psalm 6, Luke 13

Genesis 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.


A famished Esau asked his brother Jacob for some stew he had cooked up.  Jacob, ever the wheeler-dealer, offered Esau the stew in exchange for his birthright.  The birthright meant that the oldest son received a double share of the inheritance and leadership of the family.  Jacob wanted it; Esau didn’t and impulsively traded it away for a bowl of soup.  And so Esau despised his birthright.  


Each of us are given privileges that are to be treasured, not despised.  It’s possible in a moment of impulse, whether for something desired or needed (the soup was both) to trade away our privilege, our treasure.  I’ve watched pastors trade their ministry for a bowl of soup—some sexual favor or relationship, or dishonest financial gain, or power.

In the movie, Family Man, Don Cheadle plays a convenience store clerk who is talking with Nicolas Cage.  A woman buys something for 99 cents and gives Cheadle a dollar.  He purposefully gives her change for a ten.  She looks at it and turns to leave.  Cheadle asks her if she needs anything else, giving her a second chance to do the right thing.  She shakes her head and walks out.  Cheadle turns to Cage and asks, “Did you see that?  She just sold her character for 9 bucks!”

She despised her birthright.

Recognize the privileges you have, the gifts you’ve been given, the treasures that belong to you (including the intangibles like your character and reputation).  Then guard those carefully.  

Don’t foolishly trade away what matters forever for a bowl of soup—a temporary and passing pleasure.

Prayer: Lord, I never want to despise my birthright—but I want to value each important thing you’ve given me.  Thanks for your generosity.