“And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright” (Gen. 25:34, NKJV). Esau was a rugged outdoorsman who followed his passions. When he smelled his brother’s stew, he wanted the lentils immediately, even though it was unlikely that he was dying from starvation.
Controlled by his emotions and feelings, he allowed the pressure of the moment to overpower reasoning, and traded his birthright for some instant gratification. When he wanted his birthright back, and “though he sought it diligently with tears” (Heb. 12:17, NKJV), he did not receive it.
In contrast, we have the example of Jesus. After a 40-day fast and near starvation, Jesus was tempted by Satan three times (Matt. 4:3-10). But Jesus saw the temptations for what they were, and even in His weakened condition He did not give in to gratification. Jesus lived His entire life denying the pleasures of sin and gratification, and by so doing He showed that we could have power over sin, too. He did not trade away or lose His birthright, and He invites all to share in being joint heirs with Him (Rom. 8:17, Titus 3:7). We keep our birthright by following the example Jesus gave when tempted (1 Cor. 10:13).
The best this world can offer is to experience the here and now, because it cannot offer an experience in the hereafter. To live for yourself is the opposite of living for God.
The desire for instant gratification is symptomatic of an uncontrolled mind; it is an enemy of patience that undermines long-term goals, mocking and injuring accountability. To delay gratification is a learned principle; it is a life skill that helps us manage situations and pressures, especially the temptations that the world has to offer, such as borrowing money unwisely. This idea, however, is not popular in a world built on the indulgence of instant reward, quick fixes, and get-rich-quick schemes. Once we have experienced instant gratification, we are more likely to choose the short-term reward again, and then again, and again. . . . Stewards of the gifts God has given us must not fall into that trap.
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons