Imagine. You’re invited to an extravagant party. When you arrive, you and a party of eleven strangers are escorted to a gorgeous, lavish table with an enormous silver bowl filled with twelve white envelopes. Your curiosity is piqued when the host reveals that inside each envelope is five thousand dollars.
Suddenly, the host is called away for an important phone call. Before leaving the room, he informs that each of you can have one of the envelopes. But if you can wait until he returns, he will double what is inside the envelope. “For those who can’t wait,” he says, “take an envelope and feel free to leave. And thank you for coming.”
Under an unknown watch, the wait begins. One hour – two impatient guests retrieve their prize and quickly leave.
Two hours – four more guests hastily scoop up their gifts and head for the door.
Six hours – two tapping their fingers on table, look around the room, reach into the bowl, take their envelopes and leave.
Ten hours – murmurs of “how long do we have to wait. I’m tired. I’m hungry. This is dumb. Why would he invite us and not even feed us.” Two more exit.
The eleventh hour. You look over and smile at the only remaining guest across from you-just you and him. Standing up, looking around, he tips his hat, reaches into the bowl, wags the envelope and waves goodbye.
The sun is coming up, beaming through the stunning picture windows. You glance at your watch. It’s been twelve hours since you walked into the room. Tired, discouraged, you think about reaching for the last envelope. But you resist.
Over your shoulder, out of the corner of your eye, you see a figure. The host walks up. He smiles. He hands you twelve white envelopes, one for you and one for every guest that left early. His chauffer drives you home – it was worth the wait. Now imagine this same scenario with a bunch of third graders. Instead of white envelopes, the prize is a big bowl of marshmallows, your child’s favorite. Could he delay the urge to eat? He might if he reads Don’t Eat the Marshmallows… Yet!
For this Good Friday, my son and I read this story. Encouraging him to be more like the last guy – delaying gratification. I want him to understand you can reap bountiful rewards in life if you can delay personal gratification. Is it hard? Sure! Is it worth it? Definitely. I shared with him Dave Ramsey’s motto, “IF YOU WILL LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE, LATER YOU CAN LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE.” And he will, if he learns to eat the marshmallows, but just not yet.
I invite you to tell us your GOOD FRIDAY story; in the meantime, help yourself.