Wednesday, July 2, 2008


There's two segments of society in America. The Nows and the Laters.

The Nows are those who want everything, well, NOW. Instant gratification is their game. They pass up the larger payoff LATER for the smaller reward that is right in front of them.

My kids would fall into this category. From time to time, we'll have an exchange that goes a little something like this:

Kids: "Dad, can we have __________?"

Dad: "Well, why don't you wait until such-and-such time, and we'll make a special trip to such-and-such place, and you can have _______________!"

Kids: "But, we want it NOOOOOOOWWWW Can we please? Please. Please. (jumping and smiling)."

Dad: "Well, it's up to you. But, you'll get a bigger/ better ___________ if you wait."

Kids: (puzzled look, like they have no clue what it means to wait for something) "I want THIS one. Brother: "Me too. I want THIS one" (more jumping and smiling, and now clapping and cheering).

And, I just shake my head. I know what the wise choice is, but they see what's right in front of them.

Adults are NOWs also. In fact, I'd bet 90% of adults are NOWs in the United States. They want to get a ________ now and surrender the best that could come later.

It's most often witnessed in material possessions, but it doesn't have to be. It can be compromising myself relationally NOW for what "feels right" instead of making a wise choice and waiting. It could be saying or acting upon something on the spur of the moment or whim, rather than planning and pressing the pause button.

A small percentage of people are LATERs. Later people are typically not emotional in making decisions. They are pragmatic, calculating, and see the big picture. They pass up instant gratification for the big payoff in the long run. They are visionaries for what could and should be. The one drawback to LATERs is that they may pass up a great opportunity in front of their eyes because they fear it could prevent them from attaining their long-term goal. In other words, the risk rarely outweighs the rewards.

So, which category do you fall into? Do you have a tendency to get caught up in the moment and lose sight of what you COULD have later? Or, do you typically weigh the pros and cons all across the board, waiting patiently to make the absolute best decision possible?

In all honesty, in today's world, most people are likely both NOW and LATER people. They want - and often get - the best of both worlds. And, that is why 90% or more are truly "NOW" people. Because NOW people will look at LATER people and think, "I'll get THIS now, but in a couple years, I'll get THAT. I'll upgrade. So, I don't need to wait."

The Bible tells us that those who wait for God's best for their lives will receive the greatest rewards - perhaps not on earth - but in eternity.

In terms of eternity, I think I'd rather be a LATER than a NOW.

How about you?

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