Saturday, January 16, 2010

Matt. 6 -- deferred gratification

A simple test will reveal whether a toddler will achieve distinction in life. Put child in room on chair in front of table.[0] Place cookie in front of child. Tell child, "I'm going out for a few minutes. If that cookie is still there when I get back, I'll give you another one. If you eat it, it's the only one you'll get." Future high achievers are able to deny themselves. Observers through hidden cameras watch them struggle with their immediate desires, perhaps even sitting on their hands. But the future is real to them, with its promised rewards. The rewards promised by a trusted person.[1]

Somebody wrote a book -- I remember the title and the thesis, but not the author -- The Unheavenly City. The difference between poor people, and not-poor people, this researcher explained, lay in their attitude towards time.[2] Poor people are present-oriented. As Hermann Hesse phrased in, what they needed was always exactly equal to what they had.

The future is real to successful people, to high achievers. A good provider is, by definition, who who "sees ahead," since the word derives from the Latin components that imply fore-sight.

İsa mapped this conflict between present orientation and delayed gratification against a cosmic scale:
Mat 6:1 "Doğruluğunuzu insanların gözü önünde gösteriş amacıyla sergilemekten kaçının. Yoksa göklerdeki Babanız'dan ödül alamazsınız.
Mat 6:2 "Bu nedenle, birisine sadaka verirken bunu borazan çaldırarak ilan etmeyin. İkiyüzlüler, insanların övgüsünü kazanmak için havralarda ve sokaklarda böyle yaparlar. Size doğrusunu söyleyeyim, onlar ödüllerini almışlardır.
Mat 6:3 Siz sadaka verirken, sol eliniz sağ elinizin ne yaptığını bilmesin.
Mat 6:4 Öyle ki, verdiğiniz sadaka gizli kalsın. Gizlice yapılanı gören Babanız sizi ödüllendirecektir."
Mat 6:5 "Dua ettiğiniz zaman ikiyüzlüler gibi olmayın. Onlar, herkes kendilerini görsün diye havralarda ve caddelerin köşe başlarında dikilip dua etmekten zevk alırlar. Size doğrusunu söyleyeyim, onlar ödüllerini almışlardır.
Mat 6:6 Ama siz dua edeceğiniz zaman iç odanıza çekilip kapıyı örtün ve gizlide olan Babanız'a dua edin. Gizlilik içinde yapılanı gören Babanız sizi ödüllendirecektir.
Let's look at a few words:
  • insanların gözü önünde gösteriş -- of men / the eyes / in front of / to be seen
  • İkiyüzlüler -- hypocrites. iki (two) + yüz (face) + lü (partaking of the characteristic of) + ler (plural indicator)
The word İsa used in the Greek, ὑποκριταὶ , has been transliterated into English as the familiar hypocrites. It refers to actors. In our Lord's day, the professional religious people had little interest in God -- they were too busy performing their religious shticks on the public stage, basking in the adulation of their fans.[3]

Well, I need to prepare breakfast for my sweetheart.


[0] This sentence is not good idiomatic English, but a parody of stilted, dogmatic, didactic, technical-writer type prose.

[1] Then, there were those of us who were spoiled kids. We would eat the cookie as soon as the door closed, and then confidently expected the universe to make an exception for us.

[2] F. Scott Fitzgerald began a novel with the assertion, "The rich are not like you and I." Ernest Hemingway retorted, "Of course not! They have more money!"

[3] To cite a few lines from Bob Dylan's song Like a Rolling Stone,
You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain't no good
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you

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