The title of this essay infers that something unpleasant has been endured because the pleasant outworking of the unpleasantness is greater than the unpleasantness.
Take shaving, for instance. I dislike having to shave every morning. It takes time, costs a little, and delays more enjoyable things. But it is worth it to me to eliminate the itching that occurs if I let my whiskers grow. Not to mention the complications whiskers impose on eating and drinking. Or more important, the detrimental effect they have on kissing your loved ones. So I shave.
Another for instance is brushing my teeth and flossing. Both seem a bother, and cost a little money. But an immediate benefit is how much better my mouth feels. More than that, what a blessing to have your natural teeth endure for the course of your life. Last year I lost a molar at 93 years of age. I still have all the rest (except the wisdom teeth, extracted when I was in college). So it has been worth it!
I take vitamins and supplements every day, and have since I discovered them in mid-life. I don’t enjoy taking them, and they definitely cost money. I kidded Alva that taking them was the most dangerous time in my life. I have a much harder time swallowing them than she did. I’m sure that this discipline has been part of my exceptional health, still with me at 94.
I began jogging/running in early middle age when the Air Force published the benefits of exercise in preventing heart problems. I have never enjoyed it, I just forced myself to do it for anticipated results. I believe the immediate results were to keep my mobility intact. To date I have not suffered arthritis and can tie my shoes, and at my last annual checkup my blood pressure was 120/70. It has been worth it!
When I was a kid, I wanted to eat whenever I was hungry, bolt my food, and get back to play. My folks forced me to eat at regular mealtimes and in due time I learned that sitting down to relax with others and eating slowly, thoroughly chewing my food (God’s purpose for molars and plenty of saliva) did wonders. I enjoyed the food more, and my stomach was much happier! Definitely worth it. I am appalled at how many people grab a plateful and bolt it down without even sitting down. Makes the doctors happy.
So much for one’s physical self. Similar choices apply to emotional, intellectual and vocational development. But perhaps the most important area is the spiritual (this essay is addressed to my brothers and sisters in Christ, so it is a given that we are all born-again Christians). As Christians, there are a number of things which we might not like to do, or find hard to do, but which when we have done them, we will be able to say, “It was worth it all!” For instance:
• Much reading of and diligent study of the Bible—–we become workmen for God that need not be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Tim. 1:15);
• Memorizing key Bible verses—–to keep from sinning (Psalm 119:11);
• When we do sin, instantly confess it to God—–He will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9);
• Spend much time in worship and prayer—–we can enjoy God’s presence, establish an intimate relationship with Him (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and get our needs met (1 Thes. 5:17);
• Attend church every Lord’s Day and serve faithfully in it—–we will be stirred up to love and good works (Heb. 10:24, 25);
• Give tithes and offerings—–that we will not bring a curse upon ourselves, but great blessings (Mal. 3:8-10);
• Learn to be content regardless of circumstances—–our hearts will be satisfied and we will be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:11-13);
• Be thankful (Col. 3:15)—–so we will please God and so our thoughts won’t become futile or our hearts darkened because we are unthankful (Rom. 1:21);
• Love Jesus’ appearing—–so we will receive a crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8);
• Maranatha! Our Lord Comes! (1 Cor. 16:22)