Don’t Settle for Lentil Stew

(For today’s post, I’m drawing largely from Andy Stanley’s sermon from Passion 2011.)

The stew smelled good coming from the tent. But then again, that was to be expected – Jacob might not have been able to bag a wild deer, but he instincively knew how to combine the right herbs and spices when he was cooking. On the menu today was nothing special though – just a simple lentil stew. Sure, it would be good, but it certainly wasn’t the most elaborate thing he’d ever cooked.

At least he didn’t think so.

Jacob rolled his eyes when his brother came bursting in. Here was Esau, there to make fun of his brother’s culinary skills no doubt. But there was something different today. Jacob detected no mocking in his brother’s voice – only a desperation. And seeing that desperation felt good.

He was hungry. Very hungry. And Jacob had something he wanted.

My how the tables have turned, Jacob thought to himself. He had lived for years in his brother’s shadow. Esau, the hunter. Esau, the warrior. Esau, the first born. Jacob knew the pain of disappointed looks from his father. He knew what it was to cry into his mother’s dress. But now – now he had the upper hand. And his mind set to working quickly on how to take advantage of his situation.

Jacob stared down his nose at his brother and relished the moment. It was truly amazing what people would do to meet their immediate needs. Or at least what they perceive to be their immediate needs. He realized that Esau was convinced that the lentil stew was going to be the best thing he’d ever tasted. So savory. So satisfying. To his great delight, he realized that he could ask his brother for anything – anything – and Esau would just fork it over.

Heck, he’d trade his birthright for a bowl of this stuff.

Jacob smirked as he thought it, but then he actually considered what he was thinking. Would he really? Might he really give up the claim to his blessing? Might he be so overcome with the temporary relief a bowl of stew would give that he would forgoe his future?

He might. He just might…


And now we sit, these thousands of years later, and scoff at the foolishness of Esau. What kind of person trades in something so good for something so fleeting? For something so temporary? For something so minimally pleasurable?

Surely not me.

I would never choose the temporary over the lasting. I’d never convince myself that lentil stew was so good that it was worth trading anything for.

Would I?

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