How an Egg Roll Changed My Night
I have made some mistakes in my life.
Some have been worse than others.
Let me tell you about one of the most embarrassing.
I served as an RA at a Christian college. This basically means I babysat grown men. I would make sure they were in their rooms at 1am. I would ironically yell at them for breaking quiet hours. I killed spiders for them.
As an RA, there is one frustrating element of the job — you are on campus when it’s mostly empty. People would usually split early on holidays, but at least one RA needed to stay back to watch the nearly-empty dorms. One year, that was me.
During my patrol, I found myself desperately hungry. I ventured out into the hallway to see if there was anyone around to give me some food. Why didn’t I just go buy some? I was in college. I was cripplingly poor. While walking down the hallway, I noticed a perfectly-placed Chinese food container by the trashcan.
Turns out, there was a single, wrapped egg roll in this bag. I did what anyone would do in my situation — I ate it.
I told you this was embarrassing. It was a low point in my life.
Conclusion: I spent about 4-5 hours in the bathroom that evening — sick out of my mind.
I made a foolish decision. I ignored common sense for a quick fix.
How a Bowl of Beans Changed Jewish History
Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And 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.
If you grew up in church, you know the story. You heard it in Sunday School. You saw vegetables act it out on television. You saw it on a flannel graph — remember those?
If you haven’t, you can read the story here (Genesis 25:19-34).
Spark Notes: Esau was extremely hungry, so he sold his birthright to his brother — for a bowl of beans.
This birthright was worth millions, but ultimately it represented his position with God and his prestige with this young nation, Israel.
He needed a quick fix.
He traded the immediate for the ultimate. He traded his blessing for a bowl of beans.
How to Destroy Your Destiny
You may not relate to Esau because you do not have a multi-million dollar birthright to give away. You are not the firstborn in a royal family. You may not even have an inheritance in your future at all. But, you probably do this all the time.
You trade the ultimate for the immediate. You sacrifice your future for a quick fix.
You find yourself skipping the gym for a few extra minutes in bed.
You find yourself procrastinating work to continue watching your latest binge on Netflix.
You made up some excuse to avoid visiting your family this Christmas.
For every blessing there is a bowl.
When you choose the bowl of cheating, you are missing the blessing of a long, fulfilled marriage.
When you are tempted with the bowl of addiction, you are forfeiting the blessing of your future.
When you are tempted with the bowl of more money, you are trading your family for your finances. Sure, you may get the promotion, but your kid only gets one parent.
Church leaders, please do not trade your message for your methods. Just because your service is entertaining doesn’t mean it’s effective.
If you’re still reading, please do not trade your future for a fix.
Don’t make the trade that’s tempting you.
Your destiny is at stake.