Later is now
Our family instituted an official chore chart, completely with a weekly allowance, this fall. With 5 kids I was needing to better regulate the chaos that generally pursues our household. So the 3 older kiddos have their official duties each day; their allowance is contingent upon doing all of their chores in a timely manner, without being reminded (too much…), and to completion.
It’s been interesting to see how each of their personalities have embraced the responsibilities. My oldest boy generally has his done before I’ve turned off the car from school. He has a very A-to-B personality so his chores and responsibilities are easily and efficiently done usually. My middle son is quite a bit more laid-back but he’s a super compliant kid, even if he takes his sweet time doing it all. My oldest however is the epitome of ‘later’. Scarlet O’Hara ain’t got nothin’ on this girl. If there’s anything to be done, later is by far the best time to do it.
This works. Sometimes. Until she forgets. Which is a lot. More often than not her ‘laters’ come back to bite her. She’s missed important medicine, assignments, chores… which usually result in her physically missing other things. For now she’s still making the connection that her CHOICE to put things off more often than not results in a loss of something great. Be it time with friends, an important grade at school, her tablet, a party… whatever it may be- the loss is never something unwanted or bad. The loss is of good things. Her ‘laters’ reap bad fruit.
As parents we’ve been impressed to demonstrate with consistency the reality of cause and effect. We are charged with teaching obedience… and as we all know too well, obedience is not necessarily engrained within our DNA. In fact, because of our fallen nature obedience comes most UNnaturally to us all. Therefore we must literally teach it to our kids.
Part of that is letting nature run its course. We have to allow bad decisions to result in their natural consequences. Because, dear ones, and I cannot emphasize this enough- we all must learn and know within the marrow of our bones that our decisions MATTER. They have consequences. Her bad choices result in hard lessons sometimes. But I’d rather her learn those lessons now, in this time and place, than when more eternal things are at stake. Our prayer is that she learn how to obey well when the stakes are lower, fail when the only things lost are temporal. So that she can learn the importance of heavenly obedience to her Father. (for more on this check out an earlier blog about Why We Can’t All Just Have a Ringpop.)
Because we all have to know that delay in obedience to God can have lasting and eternal ramifications.
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.”
Romans 2:4-11 ESV
‘Later’ or ‘wait’ doesn’t translate in the Kingdom. We either obey or we don’t. Later is disobedience plain and simple. Because there is a ‘too late’ for many- we never know when that last breath will be taken or when our days have hit their end.
I speak to those who don’t know Jesus as their Savior. Your ‘later’ is NOW dear ones. THIS MOMENT. Don’t put off the most important decision of your eternity.
But I also speak to the rest of us. What are your ‘laters’ with God? What are you delaying or pushing to the side? What or who are you supposed to be ministering to?
God’s paths ALWAYS lead towards the Gospel… always towards fellowship and eternity with Him. There is literally no instruction He will ever give that doesn’t point towards furthering Himself.
Therefore it only gives us more proof that everything He would ask of us has eternal consequences. All of it. Our obedience, or lack thereof, echoes in the heavens.
My daughter’s later needs to be now.
My later is now.
Your later is now.
May we be found willing and eager servants or whatever instruction He gives us.