One of the Fortune 500 companies was reported to have an unusually good year in 1213 but actually did better than had been anticipated. When asked what their secret was the answer was that they take a “long-term” view. The spokesman for the company admitted that it was a difficult plan to implement because of “the pressure that comes from being long-term in a world that is short-term oriented.”
An indication of this short-term mindset is shown in the fact that piggy banks are practically obsolete! As a child, do you remember seeing a toy you really wanted or the latest comic book, but didn’t have the money? Well, you had a piggy bank! So a nickel here a dime there from doing some helpful chore, a visit from Grammy that resulted in fifty cents for being a ‘good boy’ or maybe a reward for good grades on your report card. Over time the bank held enough cash to buy that long-awaited toy! A piggy bank taught a lesson that with patience, the belief in the long-term raised the value of what we were saving for. Sometimes it was just a good feeling to hear a few coins rattle so we were assured we had a little cash on hand for some unexpected event.
Now our outlook on life is the short-term view. We have become a culture of instant gratification. People don’t want to wait until they have saved up enough cash to buy what want, they use a credit card so they can have it today. That is the short-term outlook which more than likely will cost a little more if we count the interest paid on the credit card.
How and why did this change in our thinking happen?
Of course one answer is progress. An example of progress I might use is when we took our pictures with our cameras and took the film to the drugstore to be developed and picked them up several days later. Then came the Polaroid. Instant pictures printed out by the camera. The new digital cameras were great, too. You could download your pictures right onto your computer. Now it we take a picture on our phones and send it to someone to see in nanoseconds.
But I think I see some other reason, too. Would I be wrong to say we lack the spiritual training and knowledge we used to acquire as a natural part of growing up?
Doesn’t the Bible use words like patience, wait for the Lord, trust in him to help us learn the value of seeing the long-term? We know many of the stories of the Bible where God shows us heroes who were forced to endure the long view to fulfill God’s plan. Moses, Joseph, Noah, Abraham and Joshua are just a few examples.
“But if we hope for what we do not have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:25), and nearly hundred other verses that mention patience.
There is no reason why we can’t enjoy the fruits of our labors now but we must always be conscious that our long-term goal is to spend eternity in heaven with our Lord.