What Is Your ‘Bowl Of Lentils’?

When her time to give birth came, sure enough, there were twins in her womb. The first came out reddish, as if snugly wrapped in a hairy blanket; they named him Esau (Hairy). His brother followed, his fist clutched tight to Esau’s heel; they named him Jacob (Heel). Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.

The boys grew up. Esau became an expert hunter, an outdoorsman. Jacob was a quiet man preferring life indoors among the tents. Isaac loved Esau because he loved his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.                                                                                                                                                                                              

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!” That’s how he came to be called Edom (Red). 

Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.” Esau said, “I’m starving! What good is a birthright if I’m dead?” 

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.

Genesis 25: 24-34 (The Message version of The Bible)

Some ten years ago, I was at a women’s conference when a thought popped up in my head, “Do not let your tiredness be your ‘bowl of lentils’.”

I was newly bereaved, taking care of young children while handling a significant workload, with responsibilities over a number of countries. I did much of my grieving while driving to work. Bawling my eyes out at the stop lights. Staying up until the midnight hour, after the children are in bed and the work is done, pouring my heart to God.

I was often tired. There was no time for meeting friends. No room to care for another soul. No energy to help others.

“Do not let your tiredness be your bowl of lentils.”  Esau gave up the rights and privileges of being the first-born because appetite ruled his life. Do I let tiredness rule my life? Will tiredness limit my potential to enjoy a full and meaningful life?

“I don’t know how I can do more. But if you want me to make room, then you can help me do that. Jesus, help me have a heart with room for others. Give me the strength (and a little bit more) that I need for each day.”

And God did not disappoint.

My work in Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific prospered. Then I moved to the USA to lead the global business + IT transformation program for the company across more than 50 countries. That, too, was accomplished.

My children flourished. In spite of their loss, they cleaved closer to God. Loving and kind, responsible and faithful, wise and compassionate. They are my delight.

I discovered new friendships. And I learned to love friends as family.

I cared for a number of children in far away countries through sponsorship: uplifting their well-being and education.

I found a new passion: praying for and helping others through significant life storms.

What about you? What could be your ‘bowl of lentils’? What’s stopping you from enlarging your life? What is blocking your path to a full and meaningful life, at work and at home?

Would you like to ask God to expand your heart so that you will have more room? More room for God? More room for others? More room to be the person you were created to be!


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