Friday, November 11, 2011

Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze

Whenever I travel out of the country, I always dread my return trip back to Lagos, for several reasons. I am sure a lot of you already know most of them. First and foremost, the flight is most often overloaded! Nigerians carry lots and lots of loads, and if you do not board early, then, you are not likely to get a space in the overhead compartment. It is amazing. Secondly, Nigerians are always in a hurry to get down from the plane whenever it touches ground! Sometimes I really get confused and ask a lot of questions. I really don't know the difference that 15 minutes extra makes to these folks who are in a hurry to get down. The plane could have been delayed in the air for 30 minutes for all you care.
Why rush to leave the plane when you may be the last person to leave the airport?
The last trip I made back to Lagos was particularly very funny. As the pilot announced our descent into Lagos, a couple of people (and I mean that) started removing their luggage from the overhead compartments and putting it right beside then, on the aisle! They were trying to get a head start ahead of others! The crew kept repeating that everyone needs to place back their bags in the overhead compartment. It was so embarrassing I must say. Even after the plane landed, it was like war! Everyone was scrambling to get out first. There was this woman that had 2 heavy pieces of luggage and was pulling them along all by herself, of course, in a hurry. While trying to pull these loads over the elevator, she fell so badly. I am very sure she must have sustained wounds she didn't know at that moment. The interesting thing is this - whether you leave the plane early or late, we all have to queue up around the MMA carousel to wait for our luggage! If you are lucky, you will get it in 1hr, sometime much longer. I once flew business class on an airline and was among the last 5 to get my luggage! The carousel is a leveler. This leads me to my questions above - Is the juice really worth the squeeze? Why rush to leave the plane when you may be the last person to leave the airport?

This question is valid, not only for the example above, but for all aspects of life. People are fond of taking plunges in life, marriages, business, career, work etc, without asking if the juice is really worth the squeeze. We are too blinded by immediate benefits, without taking time to consider the long term implications of our actions and inactions. Especially in Africa, people do not see far beyond their noses. They are concerned with NOW, and now alone. I believe Africa and African leaders are suffering from the NOW syndrome. It is a slow killer disease! That is why we are the way we are. God have mercy.
I believe Africa and African leaders are suffering from the NOW syndrome. It is a slow killer disease!
It is very easy to change jobs these days. Any company down the street can offer you a better package. It would definitely look so attractive and so juicy! It is much better than what you had before and all. You couldn't have asked for something better. You even give a testimony about it in church. Halleluyah! The Lord is good. Months down the line, you are already thinking of changing jobs! You are already seeing flaws in your new company and wishing you were still with the old. Was the juice really worth the squeeze? Did you consider both short and long term implications of your actions? Some of us really overestimate our problems you know? And that's why we do not consider long term implications. We are too blinded by the present. I like the story of Jacob and Esau in the Bible. It is an interesting read. I have heard many preachers and authors castigate Jacob. However, I see wisdom in what he did. While I am not about to write about them, I want to bring your attention to a statement that Esau made, in the heat of his hunger. “I am at the point to die, and what profit shall this birthright do to me?" Was he really about to die? He has probably missed a few meals but was this enough to kill him? No wonder he didn't consider long term implications of his actions. He never stopped to ask “Is this juice really worth the squeeze"?

There are many children of God today who are losing their integrity because of money. The desire to be rich and comfortable has blinded many. They would do anything to get this money...and show forth the goodness of God! Along the way, they lose something so precious to them, their integrity. Was the juice really worth the squeeze? Was it really worth it? What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? I like the way The Message version of the Bible puts it “What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?" Are all the sacrifices worth what you are striving for?
Are the benefits you will get outweighing the sacrifices you are making? If not, then, don’t do it!
We have seen marriages fail, and woefully at that because of the myopic thinking of people. The statistics in church is not any better than that outside the church. Why? People are squeezing the juice without really asking if it's worth it! Just before you do anything that will hurt your spouse or hurt your marriage, may I ask you to please stop for a second? Is it really worth it? Are the benefits you will get outweighing the sacrifices you are making? If not, then, don’t do it!

Make sure that what you are doing and striving for is going to be worth any sacrifices you will have to make along the way – whether it is in a relationship, at work, and even in life generally. Make sure the juice you are squeezing is worth it!