The Power and Price of Appetite
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?” Genesis 25:30-32
Several years ago, I was moving a large pile of soil with a shovel but as it had just rained, the soil constantly stuck to the shovel. It was infuriating. Eventually, I got angry enough to yell a few bad words and smash the shovel over my yard cart, attempting to break one or the other. I felt more than a little foolish when I later realized my family had witnessed my tantrum.
The thought of my tirade may be amusing but replace that shovel in the story with the people I have spoken to in anger, and it is far less funny. In my anger, I speak impulsively and later, regret my words, as I rarely mean them. The damage is done though.
I do this with food, eating now, what I later wish I had not. I did this with pills, later wishing desperately, that I could go back and make different choices. Once I indulge in my appetite though, I cannot go back.
This is the power and price of appetite, as Esau learned in today’s passage. Crazed by his hunger, he asked Jacob, his brother, for supper. His shrewd brother told him he would trade for his inheritance. This was a terrible deal by any measure, but in his condition, Esau was ruled, not by reason, but by his appetite.
This is how our appetite operates. Our impulsive desires promise to deliver momentary pleasure but there is always some price to pay later. Contrast this to a life of following God, where we learn to deny those impulses and are rewarded, not with temporary pleasure, but with enduring joy and peace. As we mature in faith, we learn to choose the lasting joy of God over the fleeting pleasure of indulging in our destructive appetites.