Summary: We will often miss the best things in life because of impatience. The price of impatience is a price we don’t want to pay.
The Huge Price Tag of Instant Gratification
By Pastor Jim May
Matthew Chapter 15:22-28
We live in a world that wants what it wants and it wants it right now. There isn’t one of us that does not love a little instant gratification now and then. How do I know that? All you have to do is look at the society in which we live and you can see signs of it everywhere.
How many people have you seen drive through the traffic light even after it turns from yellow to red? We get in a hurry and we don’t want to wait another minute or two. Our journey is too important and we just have to get to Wal-mart in 30 seconds or the world will come to an end.
What about when we’ve finished shopping at Wal-mart? I’ve seen people spend an hour or more just wandering aimlessly down every aisle, just checking everything out to see if there’s anything new that they just have to buy. They don’t seem to be in any hurry while they are shopping, but it’s a whole different story when it comes time to check out. They’ll walk up and down the entire line of 40 cashiers to find the one register than can get them out 10 seconds quicker. Suddenly it’s a life or death race to the parking lot, and then you start the demolition derby to get out of the lot. I’m finished shopping, and now I just have to get home within the next 5 minutes.
We want everything instantly if not sooner, proven by the fact that we have microwave ovens, V8 engines with enough horsepower to pull a whole wagon train across the prairie at 80 mph.
One of the commercials that I’ve seen a lot in recent days has people screaming to the top of their lungs, “It’s my money and I need it now!” Just call J. G. Whatever his name is and you can have it now – but it’s going to cost you dearly. But we don’t care much about the cost, or what the future may hold. We want what we want now and we will pay whatever price we have to in order to get it now. We buy things we can’t afford, with money we don’t have, to have things that we really don’t want after we have them, and most of the time it’s all done on impulse.
The current financial crisis is a direct result of the “Gotta’ Have it Now” attitude. People went out on a limb to buy brand new, huge homes, much more than they needed or could afford. The Banks and loan companies were freely loaning money to people that they knew couldn’t afford the loan they were getting. It was all done because of all the money that could be made from the process.
Bankers got rich off of floating interest rates and bonuses from making loans; contractors were rolling in cash from sales; tax collectors were having a field day collecting sales taxes; everyone had his hand in the till, and the man who could least afford it was the one who was eager to take hold of the opportunity because he could get what he wanted now, and not have to wait to afford it.
The balloon grew and grew until it began to leak air several months ago. Now the balloon has burst completely and everybody is crying about it. Why didn’t they see this coming? I’m no financial expert but even I knew that people were overextending themselves with floating interest rates on houses they couldn’t pay for. But no one cared. Instant gratification over the money that could be made, and the status symbol of a brand new home in a fancy subdivision, drove the economy into the dirt.
Now the federal government is going to bail out the lenders and keep the mortgage brokers afloat with a $100 Billion or more grant to the same people who made all the profits from the bad loans in the first place. Why don’t they bail out the people who were duped into signing the huge mortgages, not the lenders? Help the common man pay his notes by giving him a fair deal? No, instead, they’re going to stick that same man who can’t afford his house payment now with a tax bill that won’t be paid off for 10 generations of his grand-children.
When are we going to learn that there’s no free lunch? And when are we going to learn that when the federal government gives away money that it all costs us much more than we get?
The bottom line is that instant gratification costs something. You may get what you want now, but you’ll pay dearly for it in the end.