Yesterday I ran to the store to pick up that one ingredient we just “had to have.” I was shocked at the number of people doing a full-blown shopping trip on the holiday. I was hoping for a “run-in, run-out” kind of trip…and folks all around me were filling their carts. This scenario brought me to a yesteryear reflecting state of mind.
As a kid, the little country town in which I grew up had no stores open on the holiday. In fact, the only business open was the gas station, with limited hours. There was no scurrying. No hurrying. Mostly just sitting around on the porch because it was too hot to do much of anything else. And we didn’t have air conditioning.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the AC, no doubt, with the temps we’ve been experiencing. But I really believe we, meaning Americans, and we, meaning Christians, are farther away from slaying the beast than we’ve ever been before.
What beast? You might ask.
The beast of instant gratification.
For the last two days, I’ve read and pondered Mark chapter 8. Wonderful chapter of the Bible that includes the miracles of Jesus’ feeding four thousand people from next to nothing and the blind man receiving his sight. The verse that has arrested me, though, the past two days is this one:
When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ”Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
“Let him deny himself. Let him deny himself.”
With our informational hotlines of smart phones and i-whatever’s, I fear that we’ve completely ignored Jesus’ command in this verse. We’re doing anything but denying ourselves. We’re devoted to comfort, captivated by luxury, and swallowed up in self.
I kept wishing I could soften this command. But even with reading 12 translations of this verse, 10 of the translations held the exact same wording.
Let him deny himself.
The clue to slaying the beast of instant gratification?
Just say no.
Personally, I’m still devising my plan of attack on this beast.
How about you?