Esau vs Jacob: How our value systems affect our life perceptions

In his book “Buy the future”, Pastor Mensa Otabil uses the story of Jacob and Esau to portray how our value systems affect the present decision which, in turn, shapes our future. As major characters in his book, the author drives his point through two parallel and contrasting paradigms as represented by each of the major characters.
Stephen Mugisha
Stephen Mugisha

In his book “Buy the future”, Pastor Mensa Otabil uses the story of Jacob and Esau to portray how our value systems affect the present decision which, in turn, shapes our future. As major characters in his book, the author drives his point through two parallel and contrasting paradigms as represented by each of the major characters.

He points out strengths and weaknesses of each value system and leaves the reader to determine what may work for them. The book commences with the Esau paradigm whose value systems focus on immediate and present gratification as opposed to making sacrifices and foregoing present enjoyment to build the future.

According to the author people who view life from Esau’s paradigm tend to view life from a conservative and traditional ways of doing things. In most cases this approach is time wasting and ineffective. Such people tend to fail to upgrade their skills and abilities so as to get most out of their careers which, in turn, makes them less competitive and irrelevant in the face of those who work “smarter”.

As the book develops, the author brings in the theme of value addition, if we are to earn more from what we do. He juxtaposes this concept using the metaphor of “roasting” which he explains as a process of making your primary product and developing it into a secondary product that in turn brings in more income and adds more meaning to life.

The author uses Esau as a character who failed to master the art of “roasting” the meat that he brought in from hunting and that is why when he went into negotiations with Jacob; he ended up holding the wrong side of the stick!

He then juxtaposes the Jacob paradigm and mentality from a different perspective.  The author’s view is that, people with Jacob’s paradigm and mentality tend to think in long-term aspects while making decisions. Such people are able to look and project the future beyond the present circumstances.

They tend to use better and more efficient practices of doing things so as to get better results. This category of people use what they have now – in terms of income, talents or any other chance to obtain better conditions for the future. And this is where the book draws its title “Buy the future”. 

In short, the author’s position is that the Jacob’s paradigm and mentality helps you negotiate your way to a better and prosperous future. If you have read this article to this point, I would qualify you as a good reader! In this respect, I will recommend you to find a copy of this book “Buy the Future”. You will definitely enjoy reading it and it will help you reflect on your own value system and help evaluate your alternatives.

This book may help you to look back on some of the decisions you have made casually in the past without realising their impact on your future. You may also learn that the decisions we make are based on our value systems and this, in turn, forms who we become and shapes our life perceptions.

The author’s aim and the bottom line of this book is to help us understand why Jacob’s value system is stronger and superior as predicted in the Genesis story before the twins were born. However, if you find that you have been an ‘Esau’, there is still hope, you can change. In the meantime, the festive season is here but let us celebrate keeping in mind that we still have the future – spend sparingly!

To all my readers I say, Merry Christmas and happy New Year, 2014!

The writer is an educationist, author and publisher.

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