Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
As I’m entering my 38th year of life I’ve been thinking about how things have changed in that time frame.
We now live in a world of instant, fast, now and immediate. Social connections are immediate, purchases can be made with a click (as if several clicks were too many) and money can be in your account after a quick online assessment.
You can put the kettle on for your favourite instant coffee, just add water to your noodle snack, order fast food, stream a film through your tv and get your pics seen by the world before the water’s boiled!
Growing up, my dad would make me wait for Christmas presents until at least after dinner. I don’t know why…. Maybe he was trying to teach me patience. Anyways I think it did teach me patience.
How patient are you? Really?
There has been a famous experiment conducted on this topic.
Read about it here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_marshmallow_experiment
This principle of patience works in many areas of life; Food, finance, fitness and most importantly faithfulness. We see both good and bad examples of this throughout the stories of the bible.
Abraham was given a promise of a son he couldn’t wait for, which caused marital issues. Joseph (with the coat) was made to wait for the fulfilment of his prophetic dream, by being put in prison. He then used his new found skill of patience to rescue a nation from famine. Israel wanted a king instead of the majestic presence of God and they came under attack after attack. Then the next king, David, displayed great patience for his own reign as king after having had chances to kill king Saul himself.
Jesus addressed this issue during His sermon on the mount.
Matthew 6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus tells us that if we can’t wait for our better reward from our father, we’ll receive the lesser reward from men.
Instant gratification ultimately isn’t very satisfying. There isn’t any sense of achievement or having earned it. Not everything in life is instant. Some things do take time and that’s ok.
Strategies for Delayed Gratification
Know what the end goal is
Work out a plan
Prioritise your resources
The biggest test though is the test of faithfulness. Will you be faithful until the end and receive the reward of eternal life with God? The last day is more important than the first day.
Patience is not simply the ability to wait - it's how we behave while we're waiting. Joyce Meyer
God is interested in us and how we’re growing in faith love and hope. He wants to see the fruit in us getting bigger and there’s no quick or instant way of achieving that. Much like fruit it takes time to grow character and where you are now is no determiner of where you ll be in 5 10 or 15 years. It’s a constant decision to forego the ‘now and immediate’ for a better healthier future in relationships with children, spouses, friends and colleagues.
Will you patiently delay heaven and eternity with our great king and plan life and use your resources wisely?