Once upon a time in a land far away, there were two twin brothers, Jacob and Esau. Now, in that culture the firstborn gets a double inheritance over all the other brothers, so that the family name will be preserved. It was thus very important for them to know which of these twins came out first. After a bit of fighting with each other in the womb it turned out that Esau came out first, and then Jacob. Even though they were twins, Esau had the right to get double the inheritance as his brother. Esau was also supposed to have the spiritual blessing to be a patriarch, and have his line become the people of God. One fateful day Esau made a very foolish choice that would cost him everything.
Genesis 25:29-34 “Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, “please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom [Edom means “red” in Hebrew]. But Jacob said “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what good is this birthright to me?” Then Jacob said “Swear to me as of this day.” so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
So Esau lost his double share of inheritance, and this is probably why God later let Isaac be deceived into also giving Jacob the family blessing rather than Esau. So I think we can all agree that what Esau did was not very intelligent. His focus was on enjoying the present, and letting future consequences figure themselves out.
We like to laugh at Esau and talk about what a moron he was, but even going into ministry, we still need to watch this area for compromise. Rather we need to serve God with all our heart, seeking Him for the best. Now I see a lot of zeal across this student body moreso this year than others, but let's make sure we are always growing in this. The devil will try to attack us with apathy, and a “good enough” attitude. This goes like, “well, heaven’s going to be enjoyable enough anyways, so as long as we make it through things will be alright. We are losing a lot of heavenly birthright that could be ours. Now where the rubber meets the road on this, how much are we willing to sacrifice for God? If we ask to be used of God in a higher and more extensive way, we must give God ask God to bring us through whatever trials He chooses. That always comes with the package. The more we ask to be used of God in a greater manner, the more suffering God will let us go through. Now rather than say “we have to suffer” let's choose the attitude of the apostles, that’s “we get to suffer for God.” Now this is impossible to do unless we keep an eye on eternity. Jesus says “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” So when we read this, do we ever pray that God would let us suffer for His sake? There is a lot of spiritual power released when someone suffers for God with a good attitude. We only see in the natural, we don’t see all the immense breakthroughs that occur over areas where we suffer for God, and rejoice in Him through it. I know personally, far too many times I’ve eaten the stew, and been happy to live without as much persecution. But we can’t let this happen anymore. We need to realize the fact that when commit our entire selves to God, regardless of what He brings us through, we are laying up heavenly rewards that will last trillions and trillions and trillions… etc. rather than giving all this up, because we set our eyes on a suffering-free lentil-stew life.
Once that stew is eaten, there is no going back. Once we are in heaven, we can’t just ask God to rewind time, and start us over again. That stew may have been tasty for several minutes, but then its gone. And really our life is only like a couple minutes if you start looking through the perspective of eternity, and its trillions and trillions and trillions, and trillions,.. .etc. you see what I mean? We are doing a lot worse than Esau. He lost success in this present life. But when it comes to heaven God says “eye has not seen, nor ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has in store for those who love Him.” suffering and being tortured for the gospel is hard, but what’s harder is knowing that people go to hell that we could have saved if we had given our all to God.
Now there are all sorts of excuses we make up for giving half-hearted service and attitudes to God. Esau also made excuses. His was: “I need to eat it or I shall die!” Now even though he’d been no longer than one day without food, he still used possible death as excuse. But we make a lot of silly excuses to eat the stew also. Howbout, “oh, I need my entertainment, I’ll burnout is I don’t have it” yeah right. Sure we need a break, but we take this WAY to far. And media and entertainment is almost always the stew we eat. We pretend that we need it all the time to because “God wants us to have fun.” But God has given each one of us a calling that we will enjoy. He doesn‘t give us something we can‘t stand to do. There is enough fun in doing God’s will, but we’re so used to lapping up all the propaganda in the culture, and letting the culture define fun for us. Anyways, Esau’s excuse gets second place for worst excuse in the bible. Now let's look at the number one disaster of all excuses ever created by man. Exodus 32 Aaron takes the cake in the golden calf incident. After getting everyone’s gold and making the calf with an engraving tool, Moses demands to know why Aaron did it. His response is:
“yeah, I tossed some gold and earrings in the fire and… well..... out came this CALF.”
Moses response is not recorded, however it is unlikely that he believed Aaron's wild tale about the molten metal TURNING INTO A CALF on its own.
Just like Aaron we will make up to ourselves all sorts of excuses.
You know, in eternity we will have wished we would have begged God to let us suffer more for Him while on earth; When the earthly life is all used up. But by then the stew is already consumed and its too late. Now, none of us are going to choose the stew wholesale. it’s a bit by bit compromise. it’s the matter of once we get out of college and back home, and our schedule isn’t regulated, are we still going to seek God with all our heart and follow His direction in every aspect of our lives? We’ve all chosen the stew in some things and eternity in others. But let's make that decision now, to make the most of our of this earthly life, and to ask God to do whatever it takes to make us as Christlike and effective as possible. Because trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions of years is a lot, but really just a spec of eternity, and we can either live for this life or for the next. So when you're tired and discouraged, remember this. What we get from serving God with all our heart is so worth it. So much so that it can’t even be considered a comparison. Only by keeping our eyes on eternity, we can overcome the discouragements and hardships with a good attitude. Having an eternal perspective is what helped Paul through all his sufferings. In Romans 8:18 he said “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” His entire focus was on the eternal results of His work. By keeping His eyes on this, Paul could go through tremendous suffering without complaining to God. He considered it a privilege. This is the key to being fully motivated to regard it a privilege to suffer and give our all for God, rather than as a nuisance.
Let's take some time and think about which things that distract us from focusing on what’s important for eternity.
Closing prayer: God we pray that you would give us the perspective of living for eternity, rather than for this present life. Give us a mindset and heart that rejoicing in suffering for you, rather than one that shies away from it. Give us a heart of zeal like the apostles, that we would live for no other purpose in life than to serve you with all our heart.