Before you make a decision, ask yourself this question: will you regret the results or rejoice in them?
If only I would! If only I would stop and give thought to my decisions. Not all decisions, mind you. In many decisions I am quite strategic.
But, when it comes to the little decisions, you know, the spontaneous ones like "I'm hungry, and that ooey gooey brownie would help tide me over till supper" decision or "That shirt is as cute as a button, and if I don't get it now, it may not be here the next time I come" decision? Those are the types of decisions that trip me up time-and-again.
When I'm hungry or flirting with temptation in my favorite clothing shop, I fare rather poorly.
29-30 One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field, starved. Esau said to Jacob, "Give me some of that red stew—I'm starved!"
31 Jacob said, "Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn."
32 Esau said, "I'm starving! What good is a birthright if I'm dead?"
33-34 Jacob said, "First, swear to me." And he did it. On oath Esau traded away his rights as the firstborn. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left. That's how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn.
Now, the rights of a firstborn in that day were no petty thing to flippantly shrug off. The firstborn usually received a larger share of daddy's inheritance, which could set a kid up for life.
But, on that day Esau made his decision with his stomach. He'd been out in the backwoods, perhaps for days, hunting game for next week's meals. Tramping through brush and brambles, wading through streams, walking for miles, Esau was hungry! Starved!
He didn't have the strength or the patience to pluck and prep his goose. That may have taken time. He needed nourishment now.
It's kind of like when you run out the door in the morning without taking time for breakfast, then you catch a whiff of those apple fritters in the breakroom and before you know it, you've nearly swallowed one down whole. There goes willpower.
Or it's like that credit card debt you've been working so hard to pay off, and then a pair of really cute boots catches your eye in a store window. Or a darling leather purse you just can't live without. And you're doomed. The next thing you know, you're pulling that plastic card out and walking away with a purchase that will inevitably lose its charms over time. They always do.
Impulsive decisions like that may give immediate gratification, but they usually leave us with feelings of regret…if not at first, somewhere down the road.
That's what Esau felt. Maybe not at first, but, when he discovered that his twin brother, Jacob, had weaseled even his blessing out of their father, it says that Esau wept aloud (Genesis 27:38).
When we act on a whim with little or no forethought or consideration for the consequences, the result is usually painful. Be it the loss of a father's gifts, or the loss of our girlish figure and our health, or the loss of our credit worthiness…
I don't know about you, but I need help when it comes to those spontaneous little decisions in life. Perhaps you do, too. Perhaps we can hold one another accountable and remember this the next time we're faced with a decision: will I regret the results or will I rejoice in it?
Every impulse of feeling should be guided by reason...
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
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