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Devotionals 2009 - 2010

Short Term Thinking
September 7, 2010 By Ed Wrather


Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. - 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.

Have you ever heard an official of a government urge the citizens of the country to smoke and drink more? It has now happened. The finance minister of Russia is urging their citizens to smoke and drink more to raise more tax money for their social services. Alexei Kudrin, the Russian Finance Minister says, "If you smoke a pack of cigarettes, that means you are giving more to help solve social problems such as boosting demographics, developing other social services and upholding birth rates. People should understand: Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state." To generate more income for the state, taxes on cigarettes will increase by more than 100% in the next three years.

Russia already has a large percentage of their population addicted to nicotine and to alcohol. Sixty-five percent of men in the country smoke and based on current consumption the average Russian drinks 19 quarts (18 liters) of alcohol every year. Thousands of Russians die every year from alcohol related causes and the government has recently implemented laws designed to help with the problem. Vodka now has a minimum price, which also ought to help the state coffers. Increased levels of drunk driving enforcement along with no night-time sales of alcohol are hoped to help reduce the number of deaths.

In the short term Kudrin is likely to be proven right that if Russians smoke and drink more tax revenues will increase. In the long term net revenues will decrease. Why? Because there will be an increased strain on their social services for which Kudrin wants to increase funding. Increased smoking and drinking will cause health related diseases to increase causing a greater burden on the social services system.

We see the same kind of thinking in our own lives all the time. In the short term buying a new car or a new house with a huge payment will make us feel better. However, in the long term when we start making those huge payments we will begin to feel trapped and burdened by our purchase.

We can go out and party getting high on alcohol and drugs and in the very short term we may feel very good about it. However, the next day, if not sooner we experience the consequences of a hangover, the need for another fix, or even worse wake up in jail because of what we have done while we were high. 

We can have a brief relationship with another person that is not our wife or husband and in the short term we may feel very good about it. However, in the long term it will complicate our lives, and it could leave us with a STD, or send us spiraling out of control in the wrong direction.

Not only can short term thinking damage your body, and your relationships, but it will prevent the implementation of God's will, His plan in your life. God says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Please do not let short term thinking rob you of "peace" and of a "future and a hope."

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