The key note speaker was Dr. Harold Sala, who began his talk by sharing the story of Jacob and Esau. And how Esau in his desire for momentary and immediate gratification gave up his birthright. What did it mean to give up his birthright? In those days, the eldest son was by right of birth entitled to the inheritance of all the family's wealth.
The bible says "Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright." (Genesis 25:34 NIV)
Esau couldn't wait and his being overcome with his appetite had very severe consequences...in Hebrews 12 we read that even when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. He couldn't control his desires and while it's possible he regretted it, the bible says - he found no place for repentance - he didn't change his ways.
In an experiment conducted in Stanford by psychologist Walter Mischel in the 60's and 70's, 4 year olds were given a choice between one small reward (usually a marshmallow) given immediately or two small rewards provided the child wait for approximately 15 minutes until the researcher returned.
The study found that the children who were able to practice self-discipline and who were able to wait and delayed gratification had better life outcomes (scored higher in the SAT's, were in better shape) or were more successful.
This experiment is now famously known as the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment and this study has often been referred to as the landmark study on delayed gratification.
“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now.” ~ Zig Ziglar.
For my daughter Hannah, my hope and prayer as her dad is that she will wait until she finds God's best for her, that she learns to evaluate and wait until she is through college, working and of marrying age before entering into any serious relationship. :)
Do you find yourself in a situation where you are wanting to eat that marshmallow now, rather than waiting for an even bigger reward in the future?
Trust in God when he says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."