It’s so important as believers that we understand the power of delayed gratification. One famous study in the 1970s was done at Stanford University. It was on delayed discounting, which is a scientific way of saying delayed gratification. They offered children the opportunity to eat one marshmallow now, or have two marshmallows later. They would leave the room and come back 15 minutes later. Some of the kids ate the marshmallow right away, and some of the kids waited. In the video, you can see they are tortured with this decision. The kids that waited and ate two marshmallows were the subjects of a study that spanned 30-plus years.
These children who waited to eat the two marshmallows did better in every aspect of life. They did better financially, in their careers, and relationally they had more friends. They were more successful in every measurement. Delayed gratification was a huge indicator, and the only indicator defining the difference between the two groups. It’s interesting I was taught this principle as a kid, this idea that good things come to those who wait. Now I am teaching this to my children: “If it’s great, it’s worth the wait.”
Friend, yes there is something relieving and exciting about getting it now, but can I just tell you what we all know? Those hasty experiences become a little less exciting the next time, and over time. You start to get diminished returns on them. What if there’s something that was the opposite of this perceived exhilaration? The Lord offers us something better than the rushed instant gratification of this world. He offers us the ability to lead a truly meaningful life that simply believes in that old-fashioned idea that I’m going to leave this place better than I left it.