What’s Your Bowl of Stew?
At the recent Rapid Growth Leadership Community I facilitated, Jim Kuykendall shared some thoughts from the life of Jacob and Esau that I believe all of us should consider. If you aren’t familiar with the story of Jacob and Esau (its pretty complicated), you can find it in Genesis 25 in the Bible.
In this particular story, Esau had been hunting out in the open country and returned home famished. Apparently he failed to pack an adequate sack lunch. What Esau found was his brother Jacob cooking up a mean bowl of red stew. Esau, feeling he was near death from hunger, pleaded with his brother for a bowl of stew. Now I’m not sure if Jacob’s response was in jest, or if he really thought Esau would go for it, but he told his brother, “Sell me your birthright first.” To make a long story short, Esau traded in his birthright, something of incredible value, for a bowl of stew.
How dumb is that? How stupid was Esau? Who would give away something of such worth for a bowl of stew?
You would. I would. We all would. We all have a ‘bowl of stew’ in our lives, something that is so attractive at the time that we would willingly throw away things of real value to posses it. And these ‘bowels of stew’, our comfort foods of desire, threaten to rob us of our relationships, our peace of mind, and our influence as leaders.
Here’s the big question: What is yours?
When we’re really honest with ourselves, we can pinpoint these things with laser-like precision. But if you’re having a tough time putting your finger on your bowl of stew, here are some questions that might bring some things to the surface:
- What are you trying to talk yourself into?
- What don’t you want to bring up with your spouse or significant other?
- What are you doing that isn’t illegal or immoral but you don’t want others to know about?
- What are you doing or dwelling on only when you’re alone?
If you’re chasing after a bowl of stew, you owe it to yourself and those around you to put a name to it and find ways to guard against it. There’s too much at stake to ignore it.