Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Today . . . at Tomorrow's Expense?

Call me old-fashioned. Call me out-of-touch. But, please know that my critique is not meant as a harsh criticism. I'm simply making an observation grounded in the practicality of life.

As I write this, I am sitting in a McDonald's in Albuquerque (the hotel Wi-Fi is on the fritz). Across the dining room are two teenage boys with holes the size of quarters in their earlobes. Now, I've seen their sort before. I know that such a look is fashionable. BUT, just one thought, have these two young men considered what their earlobes are gonna look like in 20 years? . . . in 40 years? . . . in 60?

I doubt it. They are simply trying to make a statement . . . today! They want to be cool (or whatever word for "hip" is in these days) . . . today! Very little thought, actually probably no consideration was given to down the road. Past tomorrow is a life time away in the perspective of some.

I am mindful of the story Jesus told at the end of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7.24-27; cf. Luke 6.46-49). He spoke of two men, builders, each constructing a house.

The one man was meticulous in his work. Choosing the best ground. Digging down deep to lay a foundation. Undoubtedly using the best materials and employing the best workmanship. His final product was a home worthy of pride. It stood firm. It held up even in the fiercest of storms. Jesus commends this man for his wisdom.

The other man was haphazard in his work. I get the sense he wanted to get done as quickly as he could. He chose his site rather quickly. Was it an easy patch of ground to acquire? . . . easy to get to? . . . was it for the view? . . . accessibility to all the excitement? . . . after all, a house on the beach is a hit with the social scene. He did not adequately prepare the ground on which the house would stand. He probably built with the cheapest of materials. And, once his project was completed, it was only a matter of time before the winds and water came and knocked it down. Jesus condemns this man for his foolishness.

This second man was concerned about the moment . . . about today! He was not looking forward. Tomorrow was a lifetime away for him.

You get the point. Many of the foolish things we do are rooted in our desire for instant gratification. The ramifications and consequences of our actions are an afterthought, or no-thought at all. But, when we arrive at tomorrow, aren't we in for an eyeful?

These two young men I encountered tonight seem pleasant enough. They may be very personable. Bright. Full of promise. But, I can't help but think forward to that first job interview. What will their potential employer think? And what about their grandkids?