We live in an incredible age of immediate gratification! When we want something, it is likely we can get it almost immediately. The lighting and temperature of our home may be controlled from an app on our phone…even if we are far away. Last week, the driver’s side window of my convertible suddenly stopped dropping whenever the door was opened (a characteristic of convertible automobiles). Rather than taking the car into the shop to have the problem diagnosed, door taken apart, etc., I searched for the problem on the Internet via my smart phone. In less than 5 minutes, I located the answer – reprogrammed the window – and all was back to normal.
Centuries ago in every part of the world, people had no such conveniences (an understatement of EPIC proportions). Tribes from North America, Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe faced a universal challenge. How can we preserve for tomorrow some of the food we have available today? Not thinking about saving some of today’s kill or harvest for days when there would be no hunt or harvest was unthinkable. Without intercontinental forms of communication, tribal people from Africa to North America learned how to salt or smoke meat and sun-dry vegetables to preserve them for future use. Only the indigenous people of the Arctic had a resource or reason to learn about freezing meat for future use.
Tribal peoples smoked and salted meats and sundried vegetables for other reasons as well. The meats, animal pelts, and vegetables, were the currency of the day. They were practicing financial stewardship. Thinking of the future, delaying some sort of gratification for another day has been virtually a universal element of diverse human cultures.
Unfortunately, cultural developments and philosophical attacks upon the concept of saving for the future have undermined the virtue of stewardship for the future among some today. The growth and ease of access to credit has morphed the current focus of many from delayed to immediate gratification. Rather than saving for tomorrow the focus has become, “Can I afford to make the payment today?” Some claim thinking about and planning for the future is a foreign concept among certain racial and tribal groups in their historical settings. Both lines of thought are harmful and should be rejected.
As previously shown, saving for the future is an historically demonstrable, natural element of human culture. It is universal because it is an element of how God has revealed himself to mankind. God’s first words to mankind, immediately after their creation was looking to the future, “Be fruitful and multiply an fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:28). When man descended into the world of sin, God’s response was to speak to the future (Gen 3:14-19). Throughout Scripture, God calls every human to live in the present with an eye to the future of personal life and as a steward of the earth. It is natural for all of mankind to look toward and plan for the future, because God has created us in his image!
We hope everyone will embrace this natural desire of the human heart to plan for their future. Consider your spiritual future and plan for eternity. Consider your personal and family life. Plan accordingly for your financial future. It is as natural as salting away some of the meat from today’s hunt in order to have it bless the future!