Friday, June 7, 2013

Short Term or Long Term Gain?

Earlier this week I got a gift...a morning to myself. I decided to do one of my favorite things; go out for breakfast. I brought a newspaper, my Bible, and my journal. It was a beautiful morning and I sat outside reading, thinking, praying, and eating.

I LOVE breakfast food...and yet it doesn't always leave me feeling great. When I got the menu I saw a number of things I wanted to eat; pancakes with syrup, bacon, sausage, eggs, toast, Yum! Or maybe a big breakfast skillet, or the coffee cake soaked in butter. Hmmm. Intuitively, I knew my body...it doesn't do well with a big breakfast loaded with sugar. So I decided to do something I have never done...I ordered granola with soy milk, a side of fresh fruit, and some whole wheat toast. For me, in this one instance, I chose long term gain over short term...and it worked. Two hours after breakfast I still felt great.

Now go with me to 1 Samuel 8. The Israelites have been following Samuel for awhile and things have been going ok. However, he was growing older and decided to appoint his sons into leadership roles. Turns out the apples fell quite a ways away from the tree...

"You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have."

God correctly identifies that they are rejecting not Samuel, but Him...they are rejecting "Yahweh" as king. Still, God has compassion and he tells them exactly what will happen if they have a king...namely that their sons may have to join the army, their daughters will be taken into his service, the best of their stuff (animals and food) will be taken, and oh yeah, taxes...because someone will have to pay for the palace and all that. Even after explaining all of this to them, they still demand a king.

To put it simply, they chose a short term solution they thought would work, forsaking a better solution (keep trusting in God). They ate the bacon, pancakes, hash browns, toast and coffee cake and washed it all down with 5 cups of coffee. Tasted good while they were eating it, but an hour or two later, not so good. Aside from a few incredible kings, most of their leaders took them further away from God, leading them into deep sin.

I always wonder what would have happened if they had just trusted God to be their king? Probably Samuel's sons would have been dealt with and they would have enjoyed the blessing and protection of God so long as they followed Him. We'll never know...

My one point is this; in my own life, I too often choose the path of least resistance, and settle for something far less...how about you? Today, make it your aim to choose the long term gains...even if they're harder in the short term.

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