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She’d been caught with her hand in the Cheerios. The front of the box promised a treasure inside and she could not wait until the family ate their way to the bottom. She had to have her book right away. Do you remember how your mother made your wait ‘til the box was empty? It was awful looking at the cereal box morning after morning waiting for the treasure to come tumbling into your bowl. No digging was allowed.

Psychologists tell us that teaching people to delay gratification is a good thing. It enables them in later life to sacrifice for meaningful goals. Sometimes we think of Christianity as delayed gratification. If we give enough now, if we sacrifice enough now, if we are good enough, if we deprive ourselves of something now someday we will get to heaven. While it is true, wonders do await those who allow Jesus to save them, we do not have to wait to begin experiencing the gift of salvation. Citizenship in God’s kingdom brings privileges that are available right away.

The psychological benefits are readily apparent. We can stop worrying about the future; we are secure. We can have peace of mind regarding past sins; they have been cared for. We can begin to reap better physical health because life’s stresses are reduced. Our relationship with people around us slowly improves because we are not alienating them with our competitive spirit. We become nicer and more likeable. There are a lot of treasures available now.

We don’t have to eat all the Cheerios to experience the cheer.

Written November 18, 2002