All for a Mess

Vic McCormick
Sciotoville, Ohio

God gave us all certain physical desires and appetites. He also gave us laws to set their proper limits. Hunger is one of these desires and has been felt, in one degree or another, by most people. Several years back there was a healthy young man who probably ate regularly and well; yet one day while hunting he failed to find food but did find pangs of hunger for he said he was "famished." After a day of climbing rocks and hills, searching through fields and brush, this strenuous physical exertion would cause one to be hungryvery hungry.

Of course I refer to Esau. Esau who swore away his birthright for a mess of pottage. What a price to pay for a moment's satisfaction. He could have gone that day without food. Surely his father and mother would have found something for him to eat if he had been more patient and waited a little longer.

As we look back at the life of Esau, we say he was very foolishyet many do the same thing today. How many young men and women that you know have given up their heavenly birthright to gain a husband or wife? Certainly to have a mate in life is a normal desire, but one could, if need be, live without one. Many will not take the time or have the patience to wait and look for a Christian partner  "All my friends and school mates are getting married, I won't be different"so they marry the first one that will say "yes." Many of these give up Christ's blood-bought church for this mess of pottage, (a mate). Others strive to be faithful but the unbelieving companion is an ache in their heart and a burden on their shoulders, presenting daily a conflict of interests. Many, as the Esau of old, later regret what they have done. Yes, even with tears but the vow has been given, the deed has been done.

Young people, do not exchange the eternal heaven of God for a possible few years of bliss on earth. Those that do so will inherit the wrath of God and more often than not, will receive anguish on earth. "Seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness."

Others will also sell their birthright. It may even be for social prominence or popularity. To be a social leader is fine, but one must watch the price. To be an athlete is good, to be the best is excellent; for these goals and many others are good and right in themselves. But if part of the cost is the neglecting of spiritual things, Christ's work, then the price is too high. In some circles to be popular one must even be willing to commit acts of immorality; but the price is disastrous both in this life and that which is to come. Don't let these be unto you as a mess of pottage. Even our jobs, though we need the work, can become as a mess of pottage if the gaining of money or position takes precedence over the saving of souls.

The drunkard thought the price of drink reasonable for his momentary peace of mind. He failed to count the whole cost - loss of family, character, respect and soul. Many start the nicotine habit (and other narcotics) to be smart or popular, then they continue so they may keep down the craving within. The cost may well be several years of their life, not to mention their influence on the young and the money burned.

God warns us in his word lest we make the mistake of Esau and pay too great a price for momentary satisfactions in this life. Paul says that part of the fruit of the Spirit is "self-control," and to be "longsuffering" or patient (Gal. 5:22, 23). We are also told by Peter to add these same things to our lives"and in your knowledge, self-control; and in your self-control, patience; and in your patience, godliness" (2 Pet 1:6). The writer of Hebrews says, "for ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise" (Heb. 10:36).

If we truly count the cost we shall profit when we await the pleasure of the Lord for he has promised "all things work together for good" when we hold fast to his word (Rom. 8:28). Verily the "World passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever" (1 John 2:17).

"Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand" (James 5:7,8).

Don't give up your birthright for a mess

TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 4, pp. 19-20 January 1966