I have a ‘wait’ problem.
By Kevin Probst
Perhaps you’ve heard the story of a man having a rather self-serving conversation with God. He asked God a question, “God, is it true a minute is like a thousand years?” God said, “Yes, that’s true.” “Well, I guess a penny to you would be like a million dollars?” God said, “Yes, that’s true.” The Man then said, “God, can I have a penny?” to which God replied, “Wait a minute.”
We Americans put a premium on time. Did you know that the best selling shampoo in America combines shampoo and conditioner and this eliminates two minutes from your shower? We bow to the idol of busyness.
Dominos Pizza became a number one name in pizza, not because they make the best quality pizza, but because they promise to deliver in less than 30 minutes. The CEO of Dominos said, “We don’t sell pizza, we sell delivery.”
Why is it when Americans eat out we go looking for ‘fast’ food rather than ‘good’ food?
We dedicate ourselves to busyness because we are convinced that what we do is what gives us value. We think the more we do the more important we become. There is a great danger that busyness may become an idol in our lives.
John Ortberg said, “For most of us, the great danger isnot that we will renounce the faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.”
Do you ever feel like you are infected with “hurry-sickness”? The faster I go the behinder I get. Its like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, “Now here,” she said, “it takes all the funning you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast.”
I recently took inventory to determine if I suffered from “hurry-sickness.” I concluded that I do suffer from that common disease because when I’m driving down a two lane road and I come up behind a car in one lane and a truck in another, I’ll always get behind the car because I know it will accelerate faster.
I was in Wal-mart shopping with my wife. I was frustrated as we approached the check-out lanes. There were probably thirty check-out lanes but only three or four were operating. So, I look for the shorter line. As we moved toward the cashier I looked at the line I chose NOT to get in to see if I had indeed made the right choice. The lane we were in was an express lane and yes, I counted the number of items in the lady’s cart ahead of us.
Perhaps you’ve read of Walsh’s marsh mellow experiment out of Stanford University. Four year old children are given one marsh mellow and told if they can refrain from eating it for fifteen minutes they will be rewarded with a second. (See Below)
I obviously have a ‘wait’ problem. I don’t want to wait for anything. I want instant gratification. We don’t take time for eggs and bacon, we just grab a pop-tart. We seek instant information on the internet, we want instant communication on our cell phones, we throw everything in the microwave because we want instant meals.
How many marriages fail because couples are too impatient to do the long, hard grunt work required to make it work? How many end up head-over-heels in debt because they acted on impulse when buying a car or a house?
We want it and we want it NOW! How many in troubled marriages seek instant relief from their pain by having an instant affair? How many run off to the mall for a shopping binge searching for instant relief from boredom or depression only to find it brings a momentary lift but no long term satisfaction.
Busyness can be like heroin, cocaine or alcohol. It can become addictive. Some of us get a buzz from the thrill of provided by busyness because it makes us feel needed, valued and important. Some apply the salve of busyness to heal a wound of low self-worth.
Busyness is not always good, sometimes it can be downright debilitating. When I find myself too busy for my family or too busy for God I remind myself of this verse in Isaiah, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength.” (40:31)
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.