I want that. I want it now. Sound familiar?
The specter of Esau is still with us, and much marketing focuses on our weakness for instant gratification.
A young person recently tried to convince me that his phone deal (same plan cost as mine) was cheaper because he “only” had to pay $27 a month for his phone whereas I would have to pay $175 up front.
Well that would be nice if it were for one month or even 6 months, but when I asked how many months the answer was 24! Let’s see 24 x $27 is over $600! And how is that cheaper, I inquired, citing my $175 cost if I bought the same new phone, compared to his $600. Well, he explained with much animation, he would not keep the phone 24 months – he would upgrade whenever a new phone came out that appealed to him – as often as every 6 months. And that helps how, I wondered. He explained that he would be able to continually have the newest phone for only $27 a month (forever). When I took the comparison one step further, comparing my $175 phone cost (which I immediately own) and the trade-in value 24 months later, to his $650 cost and doesn’t own a thing, he really didn’t care. It was “worth it” he said, to pay $27 a month forever, to have every new phone as soon as it came out – potentially a twice annual “shot” of instant gratification.
It blew me away until looking back I realized that I’ve often done the same thing – maybe with a new outfit I charged and didn’t really know how I would pay for it…maybe with a sinfully rich dessert I knew would make me sick – the consequences brushed aside for the instant gratification of taste. Or maybe I wanted a car, a relationship, a dance date, or new shoes or purse . . .and even though whatever form of those wishes was not right in some way, I latched onto it as “okay” because I wanted one NOW.
Erwin Lutzer, Moody President told a story of his haste to purchase a house, and his decision to buy one that was “OK” even though he doubted it would meet their needs. The next week the basement of the home flooded. A little clause in the contract that allowed him to cancel if there was water in the home, released him from his instant-gratification decision, and set him free for the next day when he and his wife found a home with all their criteria. He concluded that the rescue taught him that the Holy Spirit was asking a question that I should probably have engraved on my wallet . . .Do you want this, or GOD’S BEST?
My hubby says it this way – “If in doubt, don’t.”
But that means I will probably have to wait. Yes, that is true.
…and possibly I could not get what I want at all. Yes, that is true too. OR you could get God’s Best for You!
However, if I make a hasty “Esau” decision, and give up God’s best, I will not like the consequences. I will regret that choice when the future reveals all that I really gave up for demanding my wants NOW.
Have you done that? Have you ever “settled” for something that you knew was not quite right? Were you so eager to get the deal immediately that the standard or expectation determined before you started searching for the desired object was lowered or simply erased? Oh, the times I’ve cleaned out and seen how I wasted money or time on some inferior project, and wished that I’d waited and prayed for God to lead me to His best instead. Which brings us back to Esau. The mirror of instant gratification. A man of regret, thinking, look what I could have had. A man who let those thoughts grow to look what Jacob did to me. But it was Esau who made the self-destructive choice.
Before the spirit of Esau overtakes us, let’s commit together that if we have any doubt when making a decision we will ask “Do you want this, right now, regardless of the consequences, or are you willing to wait for God’s best?
Good thoughts, Delores! How many times in the past I have made the impulse buy. I try to pray when I walk in a store to have the wisdom to purchase only what I need or for God to direct me to the object and price that honors my budget and Him. Excellent!
Sharon, how encouraging to know that our God has led you to such a prayer of financial wisdom. Thanks for the kind words – to God be the glory.