Tag Archives: instant gratification

Waiting for Good Things

“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1

Because of  the summer heat I’ve found a pleasant donut shop down the road with air conditioning and pretty good coffee. Since it’s got free wi-fi, I like to plug in and spend the morning alternately writing and watching people.

This one lady came in with a  cute toddler straddling her hip. The lady was dressed stylishly with expensive-looking sunglasses riding across the top of her head. She shifted her body from side to side impatiently as she watched the counter guy move about like  molasses. She sighed loudly enough for me to notice from across the store.

Four people were ahead of her and the counter guy worked steadily to fill the customers’ orders.

After he’d filled two orders and started to fill the third customer’s order, the lady with the toddler spoke up in exasperation, “Is there someone else who could take my order?”

The counter guy calmly and respectfully explained that he was the only person in the shop who could fill her order. Mrs. Impatient rolled her eyes, then flounced out of the shop. Those of us seated nearby met each others glances. I’m sure we all had the same thought: “Sheesh, would it have hurt the lady to wait maybe one more minute?”

Because the lady couldn’t control her feelings of impatience—and spoiled entitlement, I might add—she missed out on some really sweet things.

I’ve read that one of the most important qualities in any person who succeeds in life is the ability to put off instant gratification for a higher goal somewhere in the future.

Jesus is the ultimate example of putting off His own personal comfort for the goal of our salvation and His ultimate eternal glory.

Philippians Chapter Two—go ahead and read the whole chapter—tells us what Jesus gave up, and the humble attitude He took on as a human being.

He was willing to wait for good things down the road.

Are we?



Sweet Poison

Back in the old days, when my dad wanted to get rid of annoying ants, he’d paint this kind of sweet poison around the perimeters of kitchen counters and floors. Then he’d warn us that the stuff, although sweet, was very deadly, and not to try to taste it. He’d point to a dead ant or two and say,

“See how it killed them? You don’t want to be a dead kid, so hands off!”

Every year, my dad trotted out the same sweet, deadly stuff when the ants reappeared.

As I grew older, I learned that lots of “sweet” things weren’t necessarily good for me.

I ate too much chocolate candy one vacation and got pretty sick.

In college I dated a guy who seemed really sweet, but turned out to be, well, not sweet. He broke my heart and turned me cynical.

I read too many sweet, falsely romantic books and grew dissatisfied with my own life.

As a child, we think sweet is good. We judge everything by how pleasing an item is to our sensitive taste buds.

So I guess it’s natural to continue thinking, even as adults, that sweet is always good:

A sweet dessert, a sweet guy, a sweet movie, a sweet deal, etc.

We need to stop and think sometimes: Does this book, movie, music, concept, idea, opportunity, relationship line up with what God says is good? Our judgment is many times off the mark because we want to please ourselves.

But God is a wise parent and sees beyond our instant gratification. I’m sure that ant poison would have tasted sweet to my five-year-old tongue. But the consequence? I hate to think of it!

I hope we consider our “sweet” choices with the same gravity as a child being warned away from ant poison.

The sweetness of God and of being close to Him is far greater and better than seeking after “sweet” things that only bring pleasure for a fleeting time, but result in devastation.

“The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

They are are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalm 19: 7, 10 and 11 NIV Bible)