Countering a Culture of Instant Gratification

tasty cupcake, on pink backgroundScripture: Genesis 25:29–34

“Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, ‘Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!’ (That is why he was also called Edom.)

Jacob replied, ‘First sell me your birthright.’

‘Look, I am about to die, Esau said. ‘What good is the birthright to me?’

But Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’

So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.” (NIV)

In this passage of Scripture, we see a man foolishly give up his birthright; he exchanges all the benefits and the favor of his father for a pot of stew just because he is hungry. His temporary hunger causes him to mistakenly give up a permanent blessing for something transient How foolish! Esau did not take time to think of the devastating consequences of his careless action.

We live in an age of instant gratification. We want what we want right now. So many people think only of meeting their needs and wants for the day or for the near future. Little or no thought is given from an eternal perspective.

As we study the Scripture, we discover that what we do now will echo into eternity. By deciding to trust in Jesus Christ to be our personal Lord and Savior, we determine WHERE we will spend eternity.

What we do with all of the wonderful provisions of our salvation in the remaining time we have in this world determines HOW we will live in eternity. In other words, the living out of our salvation will have a direct impact on our quality of life in the new eternal paradigm.

A big question for all of us is, to what extent are we willing to delay temporary gratification for the eternal rewards God has for those willing to invest time, talent, and treasure to further the Great Commission?

Are many Christians making the same mistake Esau made? Are they exchanging possible eternal rewards for the passing pleasures of this world, the equivalent of a pot of stew? This makes no sense at all!

Jesus Christ himself says our deeds count for eternity from a reward standpoint: “‘Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End’” (Revelation 22:12–13, NIV).

These words, along with the rest of what Scripture says about eternity, have a major impact on my thinking, behavior, and investment of time, talent, and treasure. We need to consider them very seriously, and act accordingly.

Jesus states here that he is the BEGINNING and the END. Should we not ask, “Has the person of Jesus Christ made a measurable impact on my life?”

The degree of measurable impact is dependent on our willingness to bring our life in harmony with God’s plan for us.

Today, ask yourself:

In my everyday living, is the eternal aspect of life part of my decision-making process? Does the desire for instant gratification distort my perspective when I think of my life echoing into eternity?

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