The Principle of “Delayed Gratification”
Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. —Hebrews 12:16
Esau had been out hunting all day and worked up a big appetite. He smells something cooking and finds his brother Jacob brewing a pot of chili. He pleads with Jacob to give him a bowl of that chili because he is starving from hunger. Jacob offers Esau a bowl for a price— “Sell me this day thy birthright” (Gen. 25:31). The family birthright was priceless, but Esau agreed and sold Jacob his birthright for a bowl of chili. He later regretted it, but it was too late. He could never get it back. Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. said, “Do not sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.” Never sacrifice the ultimate for the expendable.
Most young people live with the attitude, “Why wait, when I can have it now.” Instead of getting what we want now, we need to learn to the principle of “delayed gratification.”
Craig Groeschel teaches this principle to his children by playing the Oreo Game. He sits his five year old at a table and places one Oreo cookie in front of them. When the child reaches for the cookie, Craig stops them and gives them this option: “You can eat that one cookie now. It’s all yours and you don’t have to do anything for it. But that’s all you get, one cookie.” Then he slides two additional cookies on the table and says, “But if you wait one hour, instead of just that one cookie, you can have all three.” If the child takes the cookie immediately, it only take a few more times playing the Oreo Game, until he learns the value of “delayed gratification.”
The Bible calls this principle of “delayed gratification” temperance and patience. Temperance is the character quality to say “no” to something you want in order to get something better later. That requires patience. Temperance and patience go hand-in-hand. The Bible says, add to our faith temperance and to temperance patience (2 Peter 1:5-9).
Instead of gratifying some momentary compulsion that won’t last, learn to WAIT on God. God’s best is always worth waiting for.
Have you added temperance and patience to your faith?
What bowl of chili are you trading God’s eternal blessings for?