This past week, along with everything else that was happening in the world, the highest price ever was paid for a single fish. A large bluefin tuna, valued for making the finest sushi, was sold for $736,000 at a fish market in Tokyo. This week I also read how Esau, the son of Isaac, bought a bowl of lentil stew from his younger brother Jacob. The price he paid was his birthright.
The price of $736,000 for a single fish seems enormous, but Esau paid a much higher price for a bowl of lentil soup. His birthright included a double portion of his father’s inheritance and the honor of being the leader of the family and the person upon whom the destiny of the family depended. As the grandson of Abraham, his birthright also included the covenant promises that God had made. These promises included many descendants, a land of their own and blessing to all the nations of the world! Esau paid an enormous price for his lentil stew.
But his hasty decision that day revealed his heart. It showed that he despised his birthright (Gen 25:34) and the author of Hebrews describes his actions as godless. Esau didn’t value the promises and blessings of God.
It would be easy to conclude that Esau was a fool. But we also could act as foolishly. Christ has blessed his church with a great inheritance. Paul wrote: ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.’ These blessings include a relationship with a loving God, forgiveness and eternal life.
What are we willing to forfeit these blessings for? It may be something seemingly very worthwhile but in the end it will be just another bowl of lentil stew.
Thomas More wrote: “If you have not chosen the kingdom of God it will make, in the end, no difference what you have chosen instead.”
C.S. Lewis reflected on these words of Thomas More: “Those are hard words to take. Will it really make no difference whether it was women or patriotism, cocaine or art, whisky or a seat in a cabinet, money or science? Well, surely no difference that matters. We shall have missed the end for which we are formed and rejected the only thing that satisfies. Does it matter to a man dying in a desert by which choice of route he missed the only well?
The Word of God reminds us that God loves us and longs to bless us. This blessing is of greater value than anything the world can offer us.