‘Have it now’

In our bathroom hangs a wall print of an antique phone with British newspaper ads in the background. It’s impossible to say if the ads were real ones from the late 1800s, or if they’re the product of some modern mind. They look real anyway.

One of the ads offers an old phonograph for sale, the kind with the immense flower-shaped speaker on top. At the bottom of the ad, in caps, is the underlined phrase, “HAVE IT NOW.”

Humans hate to wait. Since the beginning, they have wanted to have it now. And that desire almost always gets us in trouble.

Just ask Esau. His hunger and his demand to have that bowl of food right now led him to give up his inheritance.

Having it now often winds up swapping out something of greater worth for something that we’ll later regret.

One of Jesus’ temptations was to have it now. After 40 days of fasting, Jesus was very, very hungry. (A Brazilian Pentecostal pastor was recently buried after trying it.) Here were some stones that might have even looked like little loaves of bread, rounded by water and wind. It didn’t take an empty stomach much imagination to see sustenance at hand.

And Jesus could have done it. He could have turned stones into hot, steaming bread, with butter on it, even.

But he refused, because having it now usually serves no one but self, when we are called to serve God and our neighbor.

Wanting it now causes us to rack up credit-card debt, cut corners, speed dangerously on the highway, be short-tempered, make unrealistic demands, jump the line.

And often when we get what we want to have right now, we discover that it doesn’t really satisfy.

Wanting it right now is a sign of immaturity. The mature person knows how to wait, save up, bide his time, build his strength, take the long view of things.

There’s only one hint in Scripture that approves of those who want it now.

“You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon” 2 Peter 3.12 CEV.

We know, of course, that the Lord will come in his own good time. But still we pray, Maranatha. We want it now.

Wasn’t that what the apostle Paul was saying in Philippians 1.23? “I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”

In this one instance, having it now is the better option. The blessed option.

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet.

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