We live in a society obsessed with instant gratification. Most people have trouble paying attention to a 20 minute sitcom on TV and some probably can’t make it through the 30 second commercials. We want our food ready in under 5 minutes. We want a pill that will make the pounds melt away or better yet liposuction to suck the pounds away in an afternoon. We want to win the lottery or a sweepstakes or get an inheritance and be rich. We want the newest computer gadget, fashion, car, fad, entertainment experience, etc. We want everything right now, but there are some things that don’t work that way. Stephen Covey uses the principle of the farm to help us understand that in the spiritual realm right now won’t work. Just as a farmer can’t wait until September to plow, plant, fertilize, do pest and weed control, and water if he expects a harvest in October, we can’t live a life of selfishness and instant gratification and expect to be able to harvest joy, peace, and patience. We can’t live like the devil and expect to spend eternity with God. We can’t raise our children to be materialistic, selfish, arrogant, worldly, immodest, spoiled brats and then think that at 18 or 21 or 25 or some other magic age they will automatically become spiritual, selfless, humble, godly, modest, kind saints. It takes hard work to scrub away the grime and the longer it has been hardening the more scrubbing it takes to get it off, like oatmeal dried in a pot for days(I would not recommend cooking oatmeal and then leaving the remnants in the pot for days, just some friendly advice from the voice of experience).
The problem is that everyone lives for the right now. Everyone says you only have one life to live so make the most of it. That is not true! We have two lives to live, one here on Earth and another to be determined by the way we live this one, in either Heaven or Hell. Even if both lives were of equal length it would not make sense to live the lives of reckless abandon that is becoming the norm. How much more pointless is it then when we consider that this life is but a speck of time compared to the one to come. Romans 8:13-18 reminds us not to compare them equally.
Are we truly naive enough to think that we and our children can be and do and have everything that the worldly people are and do and have and yet by some miracle not be worldly people. Do we think because we call America a Christian nation that 2 Corinthians 6:13-18 doesn’t apply anymore. The fact of the matter is that we have got to start looking past this world and its pleasures. What if our kids didn’t get to watch cartoons? Would that be so bad? What if they didn’t go to the mall or the movies with friends when they wanted to go? What if they didn’t get to play that sport, be in that club, learn ballet or karate? What if we didn’t go out to McDonald’s? What if they didn’t get to ___________(put your child’s favorite activity in the blank)? Would we be horrible parents? Now let me ask one more. What if they did get to do all of those things and more, but didn’t get to go to Heaven? That doesn’t mean that every activity is evil, but does it cause such a distraction or such a desire, or take time that should be spent on spiritual development in such a way that it hinders spiritual growth.
I heard one father say recently that he didn’t care if his kids were not the most athletic, the best spellers, the most artistic, the smartest with the best grades, etc. he wanted them to be the best Christians. Now Christianity is not a competition like football or a spelling bee, but what if the world got to the point that it was in Noah’s day and there was only one family that was right with God. Would you want that one family to be your family? What if we live in a city that becomes like Sodom and Gomorrah? What if we can’t just move to another town because they are all that way? Would you be the one family that God would try to save? What if things were like in Elijah’s day? Would you be one of the 7000 that didn’t bow the knee to Baal? What if you are in a church like the one Moses led out of Egypt? When everyone starts throwing their hands up and quitting will you join them or speak up and stand up like Joshua and Caleb? If we don’t have our sights set on Heaven we will fail when the tough times come, and if the world is in our hearts like it was in Lot’s wife’s we will never escape.
Do not be deceived God is not mocked, whatever a man sows is what he will reap. Galatians 6:7-9 reminds us of the spiritual law of the farm. We need to remind ourselves and our children not only with words or songs, but with actions that this world is not our home. We are just traveling through on our way to somewhere better, Heaven, Hebrews 8:11-16. Don’t miss out by having too much here, and not making it there. Keep your focus on that unseen city.