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Pastor Glenn McDonald: Today is the Day


Have you ever bought a product because it had a great rebate, but you never got around to sending it in?


Manufacturers and retailers everywhere want to thank you. 


And they sincerely hope you sustain this helpful pattern of behavior – helpful for manufacturers and retailers, that is.


Rebates are one of the most popular forms of price discounting in America, according to Ellen Ruppel Shell’s book Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture. They also offer “interesting insights into…human frailty.”


Rebates are exciting. Who wouldn’t be excited to get a $400 rebate when purchasing a $900 washer? The problem is that so few of us ever actually mail in that mail-in rebate.


Shell points out, “Filing for a rebate is anticlimactic, an afterthought after the thrill of the hunt is long behind us.”


Human beings routinely succumb to a strange twist of internal accounting. We congratulate ourselves on the great deal we just got – a washer almost half off! According to our mental algebra, that’s the actual sum we have paid – even though we often fail to take the steps to make that come true.


So just how often do shoppers sit down, fill out the rebate form, go get a stamp, and drop it off at the post office?


The answer is a sobering 5-10%. 


Comparatively few of us muster the will to turn our intentions into actions, even though we give ourselves credit just for thinking about doing so. 


Shell asserts that the retail fulfillment industry is counting on that state of mind. “Promotions that generate redemption rates higher than 30% are considered marginal... A 50% redemption rate is considered an abject failure.” 


Retailers and manufacturers, in other words, are betting that when it comes to our own financial health, most of us are habitual slackers. 


More often than not, they win that bet.


Are you prepared to take a monumental step in your growth as a person?


Stop giving yourself “credit” for merely intending to do something. 


Author and social critic Dorothy Sayers called out such behavior as sloth, one of the Seven Deadly Sins identified by medieval theologians. Sloth is, among other things, characterized by a failure to finish – an unwillingness to care enough to see something through. 


Sloth, she wrote, is “the sin which believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, loves nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and only remains alive because there is nothing it would die for.”


If that seems a bit harsh – we’re only talking about rebates, after all – consider the fact that sloth becomes “deadly” because it can dominate our approach to everything in life.


That’s why it’s crucial to turn your intentions into actions:


Start that exercise program. Read a good book. Humble yourself and go ask that person for forgiveness. Get serious about prayer. Sort your closets and give away what you no longer need. Stop smoking. Start that project you promised to tackle. Finish the one that’s half-completed.


Of course, you’ll have to find just the right day to make things like that happen.


Good news!


Today is the right day.


The apostle Paul pleads, “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).


When it comes to rebates and redemption, it’s time to take now for an answer.

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