Delayed Gratification

The concept of waiting on a purchase now to be able to afford it later is certainly not new. But it is such an important principle and so largely ignored that it bears repeating often.

God wants His very best for His children. He wants to bless them and even wants them to be able to enjoy His material provisions. Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 says “Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.” Everything good we have is a gift from the Lord.

However, timing is very critical in God’s economy. Some things that are good and right and pure and holy become sinful and wicked and abominable solely due to timing. For example, physical intimacy was designed by God to be good, as long as it takes place between a husband and wife. But if it takes place before the marriage, it is fornication.

A similar pattern holds true in finances. God gives some very practical wisdom in Proverbs 24:27 “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.” Here, we are instructed to make certain of our income before we go spending it. Often the pioneers of the American frontier days would build a barn first on their homesteads and live with the animals in a separate section of the barn. They knew if their livestock was not protected from the elements, the family’s chance of survival decreased dramatically. The first purchase upon homesteading was seed to plant crops. After a good year or two of crops they might begin to consider building a real home of their own.

Where do we fit here? Are we willing to put off purchasing that latest electronic gadget until we get a raise? Do we think twice about eating out when we’re still paying our student loans? How about that fancy new car that we’ve been keeping an eye on? Could we make do with the car we have and think about purchasing an investment instead? Our financial choices today will impact our lifestyle tomorrow, either positively or negatively. Let’s have the foresight to make the right choices in the long run.

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