Long-Term Benefits


We were on the highway, headed back to our campground after a fun day of sight-seeing, when we came upon this extremely slow car in the passing lane. I find slow cars in the passing lane rather frustrating. I don’t care if someone prefers to drive slow, I just appreciate if they stay in the appropriate lane for their speed.

As we scooted to the right lane to pass them, I glanced in the car, expecting to see an elderly person.

Instead, what I saw confounded me. It was a young woman intently texting on her phone. In the passing lane. On a busy highway.

How dumb do you have to be if you are texting in the passing lane?? (My apologies to you if you have done this. I am not trying to be unkind, but common sense tells us that we shouldn’t text and drive at all, much less in the passing lane of a major highway!)

She is so typical of this day and age, where we just do not think through the possible consequences of our actions.

We are so focused on the present and what we want to do, that we care little for our own lives or the lives of those around us. And this is true in many other aspects of our lives, as well.

My husband and I were having a conversation with friends the other night and the subject of friendship with our kids came up. We are now at the stage where we are beginning wonderful friendships with our kids. But if we had tried to be their friend ten years ago, we would have sacrificed the friendship we have now. We had to delay our present desires (our kids to like us) for their future benefit (and our future benefit, as well).

Delaying gratification is not a popular concept these days. Think of all the dumb stuff we do on a daily basis because of the immediate gratification we receive–

~Eat when we aren’t hungry to fulfill the “appetite” of our eyes.

~Choose processed foods and mixes to save ourselves time.

~Give in to our child so we aren’t embarrassed or so they will like us.

~Buy something we don’t need or go into debt to “keep up with the Joneses”.

~Watch something crude and profane to get a few laughs.

Honestly, when it comes right down to it, many of us choose immediate gratification over long-term benefit all the time.

So what do we get if we decide to choose future benefits instead of immediate gratification? I can think of a few, very worthy things that you will probably receive (although there are always exceptions, of course)–

~We will not be haunted for life by the image of killing another human being because we were texting and driving on a major highway (this one is guaranteed, by the way–if you don’t text and drive, you won’t kill someone while doing it!)

~We will have a healthy body.

~We will stay out of debt.

~We will have obedient and respectful children (instead of the little tyrants I see running around everywhere these days! I shudder to think about what this world will be like as these undisciplined, self-centered kids grow up).

~We will become more like Christ.

As we grow more mature in Christ and exercise self-discipline in these areas, the decisions become easier because they become habits. The first few times we say no to that dessert or to buying something that we can’t afford, it hurts terribly. The first time we hold our ground with our kids and provide consequences for their fits, we will feel just awful inside. The first time we turn off that TV show or radio station, we will feel disappointed. But, if you can stick with it long enough, it gets easier because it becomes a habit. And before you know it, you have taken some leaps and bounds towards a better life.

I don’t know if the girl who was texting will ever have to pay the ultimate price for her stupidity. It seems that oftentimes many people get away with the Russian Roulette game they play every day. But we need to do the right thing, even if we never experience negative consequences.

And one final thing–of course, sometimes we fall back into our old habits as we strive to make good choices. That is where perseverance comes in. If you are reading this and are at a bad place and ready to give up, then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue on! We can’t give up! Perfection and perfect rest will come soon enough, but for now we are here to labor on in our quest to become more like Christ, to share the gospel, and to glorify God.







2 thoughts on “Long-Term Benefits”

    1. Thanks, Jen. My biggest fear when I write posts like this is that people will think I think I have arrived. But actually most of these posts are born out of my own deficiencies and struggles! As you already know ;)

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