Thursday, February 3, 2011

Instant Gratification

I'm sure we've touched on this before. I don't like to wait. I want what I want, and I want it now. Yesterday would be better, but now would work. And, of course, I don't dare pray for patience because we all know what would happen then., but I do work toward disciplining myself to be less demanding of God.

I was reading the Beatitudes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. I'm not sure how well I would have taken these words had I been in the crowd, especially when I was a young, immature Christian. Here's how the NRSV interprets these words from Matthew 5:

"1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:


3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The kicker in this sermon for me would have been the repetition of the phrase, "will be." I would have been saying, "So, when WILL we BE comforted? Huh? Cause I got things to do, Jesus. I need this comfort right now. And as for inheriting the earth or the Kingdom of Heaven. A reward in heaven? That just seems like it is going to take a lot of time. Can't we get started on this now?"
 
Over the years of my walk with God, I've learned, sometimes painfully, that His timing is perfect. It is mysterious. It is clearly NOT my timing.  But...it is perfect. God doesn't do instant gratification. While I'm still not a patient person, I'm kind of glad for the delayed gratification. When I get what God gives me, the waiting makes me appreciate it so much more . His gifts are so great, they are worth waiting for!

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