Never give up what you want most for what you want now.

Never give up what you want most for what you want now. May 7, 2024

image/pixabay “Never give up what you want most for what you want now.”


Jacob and Esau

Genesis 25:29-34 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” Therefore his name was called Edom. Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

A Word from the Past

A few days ago, I found a note in my Bible that I wrote on May 7, 2017. It was a quotation that I apparently found important when I heard it. It said, “Never give up what you want most for what you want now.”

That struck me, obviously for the second time, as being something important, so like any good teacher, I googled it, and this is what I found:

“In the late 1960s and early 70s an experiment was performed at Stanford University in California by Professor Walter Mischel. The subjects of this experiment were not college students but children between the ages of four and six. This was quite a simple experiment, it didn’t require drugs or difficult tests or any specialized equipment. The only testing device used was a marshmallow. That’s probably why it was called the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. 

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

This is how the experiment worked. A child was brought into a room and asked to sit at a table. The room was basically empty so that there would be nothing to distract the child. The child was told that they could have a marshmallow.

The researcher said that the child could eat the marshmallow now or if he or she could wait and not eat the marshmallow, the researcher would return in about 15 minutes and they would receive a second marshmallow. They could have one now or if they waited, they could have two. We all know that two is so much better than one!

But 15 minutes is a very long time for a child. 

The purpose of the original study was to understand when the ability to wait to obtain something that one wants, develops in children. Were the children in control or did the marshmallow control them? Professor Mischel observed that some children would “cover their eyes with their hands or turn around so that they couldn’t see the marshmallow, others would kick the table, or tug on their pigtails, or stroke the marshmallow as if it were a tiny stuffed animal”, while others would simply eat the marshmallow as soon as the researchers left.

In over 600 children who took part in the experiment, a minority ate the marshmallow immediately. Of those who attempted to delay, one-third deferred gratification long enough to get the second marshmallow. Follow up studies showed that children who could postpone eating a marshmallow at age four outpaced their peers in many areas when they were 18 years old: They scored higher in college entrance exams and had higher confidence, concentration, and reliability. This simple test proved to be twice as predictive of later SAT scores as IQ tests.”

Never Give Up What You Want Most

How many times have you been focused on a goal, and then suddenly “grabbed the marshmallow”? How many times have you been “Esau”?

“Never give up what you want most for what you want now.”

Try this: With eyes closed, put your hands out in front of you, open, and palms up. With your eyes still closed, think about that thing that you want right now–are you hungry? Bored? Sad? What would fix that for you? In your mind, place that thing  in your left hand and close your fingers over it.

Now think about the thing you desire more than anything else in the world. Be honest with yourself. Picture what you want beyond anything else. In your mind, place that in your right hand and close your fingers over it. 

Now, symbolically, throw down that thing in your left hand. Lift up your right hand toward heaven. Then pray.

Talk to Father God

Tell God what you want or need most and ask Him to direct you  and to provide that for you. Be specific about your request. Even though God knows what you want and need, He wants you to ask Him for it. He desires your fellowship and communication because He loves you. He has offered you the invitation to “come boldly before the throne of grace.” 

Psalm 37:4 says: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

God bless you, and don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.



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