Cross Points 3.27.22

For A Bowl Of Soup

I’m a soup and sandwich sort of guy.  I remember working in Columbia, MO for years, and my favorite lunch places were those that provided soup and sandwich options.  A little diner downtown that would provide tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches, or vegetable soup with ham and cheese on rye.  This was mostly before the advent of Panera Bread, and I preferred the mom and pop places anyway.  
I’m not the only one who has such a hankering.  Take Esau in the Old Testament.  You may remember the story, how his younger brother Jacob was able to take Esau’s birthright by providing a steaming bowl of soup when he had returned from hunting, famished.  Yes, Jacob was a trickster, the meaning of his name, but Esau (which means “red,” and he had the temper for it) was very short-sighted, no doubt.  
Here is part of the account.  “Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted.  Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!’  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.”  (Genesis 25:29-33)
Was Esau about to die, really?  Doubtful.  He just wanted what he wanted and wanted it now. And that’s what brings me to the heart of this article, how we moderns have the same tendency.  
If we believe in Jesus as God’s Messiah, sent to rescue us from sin and provide a path to heaven, and we accept him as Lord and follow him, that is a great thing!  But I believe that being saved by faith in Jesus means we are truly disciples, following him in fact, not just theory, looking to the long-term results of faith, not just wanting what we want and wanting it now.  We defy our claim to faith if that happens.
Let’s say we are extremely attracted to the opposite sex.  Many a man throughout history have
somehow set their God pursuit aside, their marital vows aside, to allow their lust to thrive and
compromised their faith in the process.  It happened in the Bible, with people like David, his son
Solomon, and many others.  They sold their birthright for a bowl of soup.  Don’t you do it.
Or maybe you struggle with same sex attraction.  Same sex  attraction is not a sin, we all have appeals that are not healthy and must be controlled.  Its consciously acting on such that impacts us.  If we reject God’s counsel (through Jesus and his apostles), if we insist on “happiness” and our own way, if we thumb our nose at God’s directives, we have sold our birthright for a bowl of soup.  Don’t you do it.
But it doesn’t have to be sex related.  There are many short-term “feel good” things we do that
compromise our faith, such as gossip, such as vain language, such as overindulging in alcohol or drugs, such as enjoying recreational activities and thumbing our nose at gathering with God’s church as he directs us to do.  None of these condemn us in the short-term, grace covers us through our faith in Christ, but when the short-term pleasures wrestle control for the long-term, we take the chance of abandoning our faith, in practice, if not also in our conscious mind.  That has a bad ending.  Soup is good, both Esau and I can attest, but think hard before selling your birthright.  Don’t you do it.
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