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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, ‘Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!’ (That is why he was also called Edom.) Jacob replied, ‘First sell me your birthright.’”—Genesis 25:29–31 (NIV)
Is the juice worth the squeeze? This popular idiom encourages us to consider whether or not something is worth the trouble of trying to get it or not, and also ask whether the reward outweighs the punishment.
Triple bacon cheeseburger with a large fry, Dr. Pepper, and a Cap’n Crunch milkshake for lunch . . . A pair of $3,000 Air Jordans . . . Quit my job to pursue a passion . . . Cheat on my spouse even though I have a family. “Is it worth it?” That is the question.
In life, it is important to count the cost of the decisions you make, before you make them. Esau should have counted the cost, weighed the pros and cons, and then asked himself, “Is the stew worth the birthright?” But he didn’t. He couldn’t see beyond his present need and momentary hunger, and so he settled for instant gratification instead. He sold his birthright, a birthright that included being a forefather to the Messiah.
How often do we do this? How often do we choose the easy quick route and surrender something amazing and grand that the Lord has for us? How often do we fail to count the cost of our decisions? How often do we fail to ask if the juice is worth the squeeze before we choose to sin? If I’m being honest, I don’t consider the cost nearly as often as I should. I make impulsive decisions, I choose instant gratification, I let my appetite for worldly things take the wheel and drive sometimes, I choose the temporal over the eternal. What about you?
I pray we remember the words of Jesus in Mark 8:36 (ESV): “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” I pray we will live by Paul’s wisdom in 1 Corinthians 6:12 (BSB), which says, “‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but I will not be mastered by anything.”
It’s not always easy. Sometimes, that amazing birthright is a little way off, making it hard to see or perceive, and the stew of instant gratification is right in front of us. But it’s not worth it; it never is. Don’t trade that which the Lord has for you for the things of the world. What God has for you is “infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 BSB).
DIG: Why would Esau make this kind of decision? Why would he trade his birthright for some stew?
DISCOVER: Have you ever made a decision like Esau? Have you ever traded something valuable God had for you and instead chose instant gratification? Why did you make this decision?
DO: As you go about making decisions today, and every day, be intentional about counting the cost. Go to the Lord in prayer and ask for His will to be revealed and for His strength to resist the lure of the stew.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.