Sermons

Summary: We must guard against pursuing our desires at the expense of do what honours God. Christians, especially, can lose effectiveness in service if they fail to consider the cost of their choices.

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GENESIS 25:29-34

YOU GOT WHAT YOU WANTED,

BUT YOU LOST WHAT YOU HAD! [1]

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore, his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So, he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus, Esau despised his birthright. [2]

There was a bull that belonged to a farmer that treated that bull very well. That bull was in a rich pasture with tender grass almost up to his knees. A nice pond with clean, cool water to quench his thirst when he was parched was available for that bull. There were spreading shade trees to shelter that bull from the hot sun during the summer months and to provide a respite when it rained. He had six heifer cows sharing his pasture. That bull had everything a bull could want. Surely, this was a happy bull.

But, the bull was unhappy. He could see another pasture across the road; and in that pasture he could see three cows. Understand, this bull had everything a bull could want. Nevertheless, he felt he had to somehow get into that other pasture. One day, the bull decided that he just had to try to find a way to get out of his own pasture and into that other pasture where he could see those other cows. Day-by-day, he gazed across the fences that kept him from what he wanted. As time passed, he measured the first fence, eyeing it up and down and estimating how he could get across that fence. One day, the bull gathered up his strength and his courage; he began to run as hard as he could run toward the fence that kept him in his beautiful pasture. As he neared that fence, he jumped as hard as he could and almost cleared that fence, but he caught his underside on the fence and cut himself badly. He was torn up something terrible.

Having made it across one fence, the bull realised there was still another fence to get over if he was to get with those three cows. Well, he had made it over one fence; he’d just have to make another run to get over that next fence. So, again gathering his courage and running with all his might toward that fence he jumped at the last minute. He almost made it over unscathed, but he cut himself again, adding to the damage already sustained to his undercarriage.

Nevertheless, he was in the pasture with those three cows. As he staggered toward those cows, he noticed they were three bulls. He got what he wanted, but he lost what he had.

Throughout our world, and especially among the churches of our Lord, are people of whom we could say, “You got what he wanted; but you lost what he had.” There are wives who decided that the handsome prince they married isn’t all that handsome after all. He uses Old Spice instead of wearing Boss, and she doesn’t like Old Spice. He prefers Wranglers to Armani. He is happy driving an F150 rather than a Lexus. She wants someone who appreciates the finer things of life. Watch out, woman, or you’ll get what you want and lose what you had.

There are men who have grown dissatisfied with their wife. After three children, he notes that she no longer has a twenty-six-inch waist and she is often exhausted after a day of caring for the children. It isn’t so much that she doesn’t appreciate dressing nicely, but it is hard to look as if you’ve stepped out of a fashion magazine when the baby has just spit up on your shoulder and the smell of sour milk overpowers the aroma of Obsession. She cooks his meals, makes sure that he always has clean clothes and keeps the house clean, but he imagines that he deserves something better for himself. Man, I’m warning you to be careful or you will get what you want and lose what you had.

Legion are the young people who decided they wanted it all, right now. They were enrolled in school, but all that studying just wasn’t getting them what they wanted. They knew they were smarter than the teachers; they’d just quit school and go get a job. That minimum wage was more attractive than earning nothing while going to school for six hours a day. Tragically, there will come a day when they are grown and responsible for a family. They will still be working for a low wage, holding down two jobs and unlikely to ever rise much above where they are now. Listen, young people, you may get what you want, and lose what you have.

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