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The Esau Syndrome

From a historical point of view, Esau is the first boy scout mentioned in the Bible.  Although the Boy Scouts of America is over 100 years old, based upon the passage below, it appears that Isaac invested time teaching and training his son how to live off the land.  This enabled Esau to become a skilled hunter, embracing the outdoors like a contestant on Survivor.  Unfortunately, cooking was a like foreign language to Esau, dependent upon his mother Rebekah and slightly younger brother Jacob to prepare what he brought home.

When the boys grew up, Esau was an able and skilled hunter, a man of the outdoors, but Jacob was a quiet and peaceful man, living in tents, Genesis 25:27.

A syndrome is a condition characterized by a collection of associated symptoms.  If you closely evaluate the life of Esau, he spent so much time outdoors that he wasn’t able to become well rounded.  This short sided approach to life forced him to become dependent upon others for meals, never taking the time to learn how to cook.  Thus, this weakness was exposed following a long hunting trip, handing over his birthright to Jacob in one irrational moment.  Like the prodigal son in Luke 15, Esau squandered the inheritance due to him upon his father’s passing.  This one bad decision has defined Esau’s irrelevant life.

Jacob had cooked [reddish-brown lentil] stew [one day], when Esau came from the field and was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please, let me have a quick swallow of that red stuff there, because I am exhausted and famished.” For that reason Esau was [also] called Edom (Red). 31 Jacob answered, “First sell me your birthright (the rights of a firstborn).” 32 Esau said, “Look, I am about to die [if I do not eat soon]; so of what use is this birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear [an oath] to me today [that you are selling it to me for this food]”; so he swore [an oath] to him, and sold him his birthright, Genesis 25:29-33.

The Scout’s Motto is to be prepared.  From a spiritual stand point, this involves advancing past elementary teachings, Hebrews 6:1.  This includes embracing the good with the bad, James 1:2-6, recognizing that God uses trials to take people out of their comfort zones.  These periods prune individuals, stimulating growth by removing dead areas, John 15:1-5.  As a former professional golfer, I spent most of my time on the weakest parts of my game.  If I just practiced my strengths, I would not maximize my ability to improve.  If you want to live a relevant life, make sure you develop all the areas of your life, not just the ones you like.  Prayer, discipline and accountability partners will help you overcome the Esau Syndrome by becoming mature and complete, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

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