Trading Our Birthright

Photo by Steve Tsang on Unsplash

Do you remember the story of Esau and Jacob in the book of Exodus? They were twin brothers and could not be more different. Isaac became a skilled hunter and Jacob stayed at home with his mother. Isaac, as a man who loved wild game, loved his son Esau. Rebekah, spending time with Jacob at home, loved Jacob.

There was a time when Jacob was home cooking stew and his brother came in from open country and demanded some of the stew because he said he was starving. Jacob offered a deal. I’ll trade you some stew for your birthright as the eldest son. The birthright meant that Esau was next in line to carry on his father’s property and livelihood. A birthright was the father’s blessing.

Esau is so famished that he says he was about to die and makes the deal to trade his birthright for a bowl of soup. Esau gave up the longterm benefits of the birthright for the short-benefits of a bowl of soup.

I think this is a good picture of Christians who have aligned themselves with political parties in search of political power. We have traded in the birthright (our witness and kingdom effectiveness) for a bowl of soup (political power and influence). The soup may taste good while we’re eating it. But the bowl of soup will go away and the witness of Christians will be diminished because they’ve chosen political power and influence as a means to achieve kingdom goals (I’m trying to think best case scenario here.)

The Bible does not direct us to pursue political power as a way to bring about God’s Kingdom. In fact, it is God who builds the Kingdom. We are invited to participate in what God is building. We should be wary of aligning ourselves with any political party or politician because when we choose a side, we do so at the expense of those on the other side. We trade our birthright for a bowl of soup.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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