The Birthright

Since marrying my husband five years ago, we’ve gained about 8-10lbs every year we’ve been married. You’re probably doing the math right now and yes, your calculation is (unfortunately) correct. We’ve gained about 40-50lbs apiece since we’ve been married. Between the two of us, we’ve put on the weight of an 11 year old kid–okay for the kid but not so cute for us.

We have several problem areas which include over-indulging on fatty foods and sugar, snacking, often skipping breakfast, overeating late in the evening and not enough exercise. I have attempted many times to lose weight in a variety of ways, from counting calories to cutting carbs to detox diets. I even joined a weight loss program where I lost 23 lbs…and gained it right back. Now that I have been accepted into medical school, I feel even more pressure to lose weight. How can a chubby doctor look a patient in the eye and tell her she needs to lose weight? (I’m literally laughing out loud thinking about it.)

I’ve been trying to find inspiration by listening to different motivational speakers, talking to others who have successfully lost weight, reading professional studies, following IG and FB weight-loss pages and on and on.Yet, even with all these different aids, weight-loss is still as elusive as ever.

Yesterday, I watched a sermon by Randy Skeete, an Adventist evangelist. The sermon was based on the story of twin brothers, Esau and Jacob, found in Genesis 25:29-34. Esau had been hunting and was famished when he found Jacob cooking stew. When Esau told Jacob to give him something to eat, Jacob told him he would but only if he gave him his birthright–a distinct blessing given to the oldest son that included special privileges such as a double portion of inheritance and authority over the family when the father passed away. Esau replied with, “Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” He then swore an oath to sell the blessing to his younger twin brother for food. Verse 34 says: “So Esau despised his birthright”.

Skeete continued the sermon, saying that as Adventists, we despise the birthright we’ve been given. We have many messages that offer counsel on a multitude of issues (marriage, courtship, health and well-being, etc.) but we choose to satiate our temporal desires and ignore the messages that when faithfully kept, would prove to be a blessing throughout our lives. Essentially, we sell ourselves to temporarily satisfy our desires instead of holding on to the promise of a bigger blessing ahead.

This sermon hit home for me in many ways but I was particularly struck by the health aspect of his sermon. Here I was, searching high and low for a magical way of losing weight when all along, it was right in front of me. Sister White’s writings (Counsels on Diet and Foods, Ministry of Healing) contain the exact counsel I need to live a healthy life. (Seventh Day Adventists have been the center of studies for years due to their long and healthy lifespans which they attribute to following specific principles.)

If I were being honest with myself, I know I have only been making a half-hearted attempt at making changes in my life because I don’t want to give up certain things in my diet. After considering the sermon I heard yesterday, I know that like Esau, I have been selling a precious blessing in exchange for things that are not lasting. I am hopeful that with more studying of God’s word and EGW’s writings, I will be convicted to change my lifestyle, knowing that God will strengthen me and aid me as I hold onto the birthright I was blessed with.



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