A devotional for our church’s chili cook-off

October 7, 2016

Our church had a chili cook-off on Wednesday night. Fittingly, I shared a devotional about chili—or something very close to it—from the Bible. The scripture was Genesis 25:29-34.

You may be familiar with the scripture: Esau, Isaac’s older twin son, came home from work, exhausted and famished. Meanwhile, Jacob, his younger twin brother, was cooking what the Bible describes as a “red stew” (which might have been similar to chili). Esau asks for some. Jacob offers it to him on one condition: his brother must sell his birthright to him. Esau agrees, saying, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?”

A birthright entitles the oldest son in a family to receive a double portion of his father’s inheritance. To say the least, it was incredibly shortsighted of Esau to give it to his brother in exchange for a bowl of stew.

But aren’t we a lot like Esau? Don’t we often act like small things are matters of life-and-death: that smartphone, that relationship, that job, that paycheck, that prize, that status symbol? You name it.

But give Esau credit: If he were about to die, his birthright would be meaningless. Unfortunately, we often realize what’s most important in life when we don’t have much of it left.

If only we could realize it sooner!

Jesus tells several parables about the value that we ought to place on what’s most important. In one, he says that a pearl merchant sold everything he had to acquire one perfect pearl, which he rightly perceived was worth everything he had—and more (Matthew 13:45-46).

Most of us Christians say we believe that Jesus Christ is the most important thing in our life. Does our life reflect that belief? A lot of the time, it probably doesn’t.

In fact, how different would our lives look if our thoughts, words, and actions matched what we said we believed?

Needless to say, Jesus isn’t like us. What he said he believed and the way he lived his life were in perfect harmony. For example, when he was on the cross, suppose he asked a question similar to the one that Esau asked: “I’m about to die; what is the life of [insert your name here] worth to me?”

We know for sure what his answer would have been: “It is worth everything to me. Let me show you.” Because then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit in order to save each one of us!

Amen?

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