Don’t trade the ultimate for the immediate

(Genesis 25:29-34)

In the high pressured world that we live in, where convenience, pragmatism, situational ethics, and the quest to satisfy the latest craving of the moment prevail; there is a tendency to replace the long term with the short term, and follow the path of least resistance, so long as it feels good.

Endurance, perseverance and delayed gratification tend not to feature much in the practical lexicon of daily living.

The choice between the immediate and the long term or ultimate is a very real one. I have come to the view that one of the ills that afflicts society today is that we have a tendency to prefer pleasure now, and by so doing damage or even destroy our long term prospects.


The choice between the immediate and the ultimate is what Esau was faced with in the well-known incident involving his younger brother, Jacob. In that critical moment of choice, their respective destinies were sealed; with far-reaching, trans-generational consequences.

The narrative tells us that having come back from one of his hunting trips, Esau was hungry. He smelt the aroma of the stew that his brother Jacob was cooking and desperately wanted to eat. He asked his brother to give him some of the food. Jacob’s response was to tell him to first sell his birthright. Esau’s answer is very telling and rather sad. He said, ‘Look, I’m about to die. What good is a birthright to me?’

Without further hesitation, Esau went on to swear an oath to Jacob, and sold him his birthright. Jacob gave him some bread and the lentil stew he had prepared. Esau ate, drank, got up, and left, despising his birthright. He got on with life as usual, not thinking about the consequences of his words and actions, until the moment of truth came.

What Esau failed to realize was the tremendous consequences of what he had done. The bottom line is that he presents a picture of a man who traded the ultimate prize, his birthright, for a pot of lentil stew. However, Esau is not an isolated case. His story stands as

However, Esau is not an isolated case.

His story stands as a warning to every leader, indeed every individual, to always focus on the end point, the long term, and resist even the sternest of temptation to trade the ultimate for the immediate.

Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2017©

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About the Author:
Emmanuel Mbakwe is a Pastor, an apostolic leader, business advisor, leadership coach, mentor, and published author. He is the immediate past General Overseer of the Apostolic Church UK. His vision and heart’s desire is to help people realise their God-given potential and fulfil the purpose of God for the life.

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