Life is full of trade-offs. A trade-off is something we exchange for something else. Obviously, we trade money for the various products we buy, but there are many more trade-offs we make also. We trade time, energy, finances, health, comfort, opportunities, peace of mind, sleep, relationships, dreams, goals, a clear conscious, etc… for what we want in that particular moment.
Yes, it is obvious that our live are full of trade-offs. Trade-offs are determined by our value system, in other words, what we place the highest value on at that time. Our value system tends to change based on our circumstances. For example, I would never pay $20 for a hamburger; that is just not going to happen.
But if I get hungry enough, I would trade a twenty-dollar bill for a hamburger. Those “I’d never…” statements we make seem to be “adjusted” to fit our situation if the circumstances get dire enough, or tempting enough, or luring enough.
There is a great story in Matt 4:17-22 about Jesus calling his first disciples; “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him”
Think of all Peter, Andrew, James, and John exchanged or traded-off to follow Christ. They left everything, and they did it “at once”. Now, think about what those four men would have missed if they had not been willing to make that trade.
Our trade-offs determine the results of our lives. As we make the various trade-offs of our everyday life, our decisions are leading us down a path that is paved with the results of the various trade-offs we have made. If the path we are traveling is not taking us to the designation or end result we are hoping for, it is the direct result of the trade-offs we have made.
Trade-offs affect every single area of out lives; our finances, our health, our relationships, our spiritual development, and on and on the list goes. Let’s use a simple example; if we stay up late to watch TV or play on the computer, or talk with a friend, then the next day are falling asleep at work. So we trade sleep for whatever we were doing, then we pay the price for that trade-off the next day. If we continue that making that trade-off, the lack of sleep will continue to affect us.
So let’s say, that we lose our job because the boss caught us dosing off. Staying up late, and losing a little sleep seemed harmless, until it was allowed to continue to the point we lose a job over it. I could pick any area of trade-off to make the same point; trade-offs by themselves are not that harmful by themselves, but when allowed to continue repetitiously, they accumulative result can be devastating.
This week consider trade-offs you are currently making that are either currently having a negative affect on your life or will have a negative affect if you do not deal with it. Next week, I will write about some trade-offs worth making.