In May of 1989, the British rock group Queen released “I Want It All” from the group’s studio album The Miracle. Critics, and the public, often said the lyrics focus on rebellion and social upheaval. From this interpretation, multiple interest groups adopted it as their theme. However, songwriter Brian May has long declared the song is solely about individual ambition and impatience. The song tells the story of someone wanting all their goals, NOW. “It ain’t much I’m asking, I heard him say…Gotta find me a future move out of my way…I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now.”
The lyrics could also serve as the theme for many across the USA over the early weeks of 2021. Individuals, motivated by bloggers, suddenly joined together to strike it rich through the stocks of GameStop, AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry, and others. The feeding frenzy resulted in people touting enormous financial gains (and recommending others join in the fun) on sports Internet sites! I read the following on one sports message board, “Guy in our neighborhood made 200K on GME yesterday.” “My friend’s brother sold his car. Took that 32000 and all his savings and put it in gme two weeks ago…Claims he will have more than 10 million before the end of the day.” [sic] These are but a sample of pages upon pages of statements, all devoted to getting rich in a week…and never working again.
The dangers of this roulette wheel style of investing, this type of get rich quick philosophy, are countless. Unchecked ambition combined with impatience results in greed. Greed virtually always destroys people from within.
We are not here to take the side of hedge fund managers who sold GameStop stock short. Our goal today is to discover the lesson being revealed through the actions of people and apply it to many facets of life. The lesson is this, “The lasting blessings of life are developed slowly, over time, as the result of consistent focused effort.”
A financially sound retirement is best built over a lifetime. Making a fortune in a week sounds amazing. We hear the stories. We wonder, “Why can’t I catch one of those breaks?” What we seldom hear is the story that follows of the fortune being lost when the individual thinks, “I did it once; I can do it again.” Building over a lifetime sounds boring, we admit. Just over a year ago, we entered a conversation with a recent college graduate about building a solid retirement. He was not interested, because he was enamored with the idea of trading penny stocks and options. He was convinced he could turn the $1000 gift he received at graduation into $10 million by age 27 and then work for free. By comparison, my wife and I were blessed with frugal parents who believed in spending less than you make and regularly setting aside savings for the future. This may sound boring, but history proves its value!
The love of a lifetime is built over a lifetime of commitment. How many tragic stories can we tell of someone who allowed their emotions to get caught in the moment and ruined their marriage? Western society has been influenced with the stories shown on the screen. Someone enduring a struggling marriage relationship meets someone by sheer chance who happens to be their soul mate. Of course, they live happily ever after. We seldom hear the lament of a man who, years after the first marriage is dissolved, yearns for what he had with his first wife. The recounting of the blessings lost are not included in the script of the hour-long television show. Chemistry is surely an important part of any marriage, but commitment is the foundation upon which the structure rests. The love of a lifetime is built upon the repeated process of forgiving angry words and working on two becoming one flesh.
Becoming a disciple of Jesus will not happen over one weekend. Please do not misinterpret this statement. We are not discouraging anyone from attending a seminar or workshop about discipleship. We would encourage it. Our point is this, becoming a disciple of Jesus requires daily work. It is repeatedly listening to and reading God’s Word, only to be disappointed in our failure to live up to our commitment, then get back into the process again. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is accomplished with people alongside! We all need time to ourselves but being the person God intends us to be involves other people and accountability. Discipleship is developed over years.
Though I was never a big fan of the group, I can identify with the words of the song from Queen. Patience was not a given to me at birth. I more easily identify with the words of James that endurance (which includes patience) is developed through trial and through commitment. I do know demanding things now will create a result that is not at all what I wanted nor for what I had hoped. Patience, commitment, and effort, on the other hand, will indeed lead to that for which we all hope and yearn.