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Cnr of Park Rd and MacMahon St, Hurstville Sundays at 9:30 am and 6:30 pm

The Last Laugh

The Marshmallow Test – where a single marshmallow is placed on a plate before a child, with the direction given that he or she may either eat it straight away, or wait until the supervisor returns to the room after an undisclosed period of time, and receive two marshmallows – was actually first conceived hundreds of years ago by that old puritan John Bunyan in his famous Pilgrim’s Progress.

Christian (the lead character in Bunyan’s story) is presented with several scenarios, all with ethical dimensions, to help him in his pilgrimage. Among them is a picture of two children sitting on chairs whose names are Passion and Patience. Passion is keen to get his hands on this world’s wealth, and sooner than later, and is greatly gratified when he secures a bag of gold, and in triumph casts a sneer at Patience whom he deems a fool for waiting.

But the story of course is not complete at that point. The picture is then played in fast forward, and soon Passion has spent his bag of gold and is dressed in rags. Patience receives his treasure, which is not only more in portion, but more precious than gold. The point of course is not hard to understand, nor the lesson new. There is a bigger and better return for the one who waits and who does not try to scrape everything from this world onto their plate. But until the Supervisor returns, who can resist the marshmallow!

DM 17th July 2021

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