What Would You Give Up?

Today’s Readings
Genesis 25-26
Matthew 8:1-17


27 When the young men grew up, Esau became an outdoorsman who knew how to hunt, and Jacob became a quiet man who stayed at home.28 Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 Once when Jacob was boiling stew, Esau came in from the field hungry 30 and said to Jacob, “I’m starving! Let me devour some of this red stuff.” That’s why his name is Edom.

31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright today.”

32 Esau said, “Since I’m going to die anyway, what good is my birthright to me?”

33 Jacob said, “Give me your word today.” And he did. He sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 So Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew. He ate, drank, got up, and left, showing just how little he thought of his birthright (Genesis 25:27-34, Common English Bible).

Esau was definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer!!! To miss a meal would not leave one on the verge of death. According to Scientific American, the average person can go about three weeks without food and survive. Obviously, because it is an average, for some people it is a shorter time period and for others, it is a longer period of time.

While it is true, we don’t know how long Esau went without food, perhaps he really was at the point of death, but I believe that to be unlikely. Far more likely, he was just every day kind of hungry and ready for some food.

Have you ever walked into your home and said to a parent or a spouse, “I’m starving?” Most of us have. Perhaps we missed the meal before or even went all day without food. One year during Lent I joined with a group of pastors who fasted until 4:00 in the afternoon each day. By the time I got home from work, I was starving! No, not literally, but I was very hungry every day.

Esau, in today’s reading, gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew. Esau’s birthright was a natural privilege for which the firstborn son was entitled. The birthright entitled the firstborn son to a double share of the inheritance (in the case of Esau and Jacob the inheritance would be divided by three with Esau getting two shares and Jacob one, that is until Esau sold his birthright). The son with the birthright would also become the head of the family and would be the leader in charge of the family. This would have included the family property. He would be responsible for the welfare of the younger sons, the widow, and any unmarried daughters. He would exercise considerable authority over the other members of the family.

Knowing what was at stake, I would have to ask, What would you give up in order to surrender your birthright? Most of us would not give it up at all. Even if we would it would at least be something of great value. Esau was willing to give it up for a bowl of stew. Quite possibly, had Esau waited for his father Isaac, Isaac might have compelled Jacob to give Esau a bowl of stew.

In tomorrow’s Genesis reading, we will see an angry Esau. A portion of Esau’s anger was because of this story. Esau believes Jacob cheated him. The way I see it, Jacob set the price but Esau accepted it. It may not have been a fair price, but Esau did not have to agree. We should be careful what we are willing to sell. There are always people like Jacob in the world that are willing to offer little for something of great value. It is up to us to guard that most precious to us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved



Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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