Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, "Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted." (Therefore his name is called Edom.) Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright now." Esau said, "I am about to die, of what use is a birthright to me?" Jacob said, "Swear to me now." So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. Genesis 25: 29-34 (ESV)As you read this passage, we see Esau sell his birthright for nothing more than a bowl of stew and a piece of bread. How little Esau thought of his birthright! When you read this what is your first thoughts about Esau? Do you think him a fool? I know when I first read this I thought, "Esau's pretty stupid."
However, if we stop to think, are we really that different from Esau? We have received an eternal birthright from Jesus. Still, many modern Christians treat that eternal birthright like little more than a piece of rubbish. When the things of the world come around offering us temporary fun and pleasure, we conveniently forget God and our faith. Esau sold his birthright to temporarily meet a physical need, but we will sell our eternal birthright for even less.
Certainly, I am a prime example of this frivolous nature. I know that I should have a quiet time with God everyday, but some days I would rather watch TV, play a video game, Facebook, read a book, go shopping, sleep, or, shockingly, clean the house. What are these things going to give me in eternity that a relationship with the Creator of the Universe, my Father, my Savior is somehow less? I sell my birthright for frivolous temporary things. Esau a fool? Oh, no, Dixie is the fool!
This struggle is not mine alone. My friends, my student small group, and my parents have all struggled with selling their birthright for temporary things. Why are we so willing to sell eternity for the right now? What's so great about the things of this world that we won't fight for the things of the next?
Now, just to clarify, I don't believe that we loose our salvation if we are saved when we fail. No, what I mean when I say we sell our birthright is that we give up our opportunities to experience the Father; to build up a collection of crowns to lay at his feet. I can't imagine how horrifyingly disappointing I will feel when I stand before the God of all creation and know that I have failed him over and over and over. Like Esau when he's tricked out his blessing in Genesis 27, I will weep before him when I am called to account for all the times I sold my birthright for the things of this world. Still, having salvation through His grace, I know forgiveness is mine. In that I can have hope, but it does not lessen the importance of guarding against the world so that I don't sell my birthright.