But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. (Genesis 25:33)
Relate: One of the most successful franchises in baseball history (at least up to that point) was owned by a producer, Harry Frazee. Baseball was just his side gig and his real passion was producing Broadway plays. This owner had ties with Yankees management as well and it was through these ties he sold an all-star pitcher, who had played in the 1915,1916, and 1918 World Series, to help finance the play My Lady Friends (which was later turned into the musical No, No, Nanette).
The Yankees got that all-star pitcher for a steal. Even in those days the amount of money they paid for him was considered far below his value. What is more, that pitcher was such a good hitter that they soon moved him into the outfield so that he could hit every day. There he revolutionized the sport, shattered the home run record (the previous record was 138, he hit 714), and still to this day holds the record for slugging and OPS average. Babe Ruth is on everybody’s shortlist of the greatest baseball player ever, he single-handedly pulled the Yankees out of mediocrity and the team that traded him away, the Red Sox, went on an eighty-six year championship drought commonly called, “The Curse of the Bambino”. In the history of famous dumb trades, this one ranks right up there near the top.
Another stupid trade was the one which was even far more lopsided than the one brokered by Harry Frazee. He traded away long-term greatness for the short term success of one musical. Esau, the firstborn son of Isaac and Rebecca, was in line to inherit a double share of his parent’s very wealthy estate. His dad and grandfather were both very influential people in the region and both had made contracts with kings from a position of power. Esau’s first contract… he traded away his inheritance rights for a bowl of stew. If ever there was a bonehead move, this was it. He would fit right in with the western world’s “me first, right now” culture.
React: It is easy to sit back and laugh at Esau. It is so easy to just shake our heads and think, “how could he have been so stupid?” But how many of us are doing the same thing? How many of us have viewed pornography, sacrificing long-term healthy real-world relationships for a short-term satiation of lust? How many of us have lied, sacrificing our honor and integrity for… I don’t know, not getting in trouble right away? How many of us, through our willful sin, have sacrificed an eternity of right relationship with God.
Harry Frazee probably had no idea the impact his decision would have on baseball. If he did, he would never have sold that pitcher. Esau was unable to truly grasp the long-term consequences of satisfying his short-term hunger. There is no way he would have sold his birthright for a bowl if he was looking long term. In the same way, we, if we could look with spiritual eyes, would never even consider sinning. Not a chance. Not only do our sins impact our relationships with everyone we come in contact with, not only does our willful rebellion against God contribute to what He suffered on the cross, every time you hear and read on the news of earthquakes, drought, flooding, hurricanes… names like Haiyan, Nargis, Sandy, and Katrina, events like Haiti 2010, Japan 2011, and the 2004 tsunami… that’s us. That’s the result of my sin. I am the one guilty of the dumbest of trades.
I am a natural disaster. I’m an idiot. My sin, which I continue to do knowing the consequences, is destroying myself, my relationships, and my world all while dishonoring You. Forgive me. I don’t deserve Your grace yet I beg for it anyway. Right here, right now, please help me. Without You, I just cannot stop sinning. Help me to lift up my eyes, help me to today for the long term. Help me to resist… to flee the temptations that beset me in the “now” that distract me from the eternal. Help me to trade away the short-term satiation of my desires and habits so that I might take hold of the eternity You have planned for me.