What does the word procrastinate mean?
To be slow or late about doing something that should be done; to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy; to defer action, to delay until a later time.
“My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” (Charles Dickens). Do you have a tendency to put things off? Find yourself making excuses to get out of doing those boring duties? You might be guilty of that nasty habit of procrastination. We’re all guilty of it from time to time—but when putting things off interferes with our life, procrastination can cause problems at work or school, in your relationships, and with your health, among other things.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, and put off what we should do today. We want to accomplish something, but end up not achieving anything. It can be very frustrating, not only for ourselves, but for those who live with us. You see, sometimes opportunities come only once and not to be repeated.
Have you seen the 1939 movie legend Gone with the Wind? Here we have Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, the 2 main characters set in the American civil war. They were both strong personalities, but in one scene Scarlett says: “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” It’s a classic response—a human one—that many of us have repeated. I can’t face up to this situation today—I want it to go away. I’ll think about it tomorrow.
It has been said that ‘tomorrow’ is the busiest day of people’s lives. This is because many people defer until tomorrow what they should do today. Hence, they never really address and perform these tasks. ’I’ll stop procrastinating—tomorrow”. We may smile at that statement, but how much in our life has been wasted. It’s like playing games with time—we think there is always going to be time. But we end up wasting time we can’t afford, and allowed our negative thoughts to hold us a prisoner. It’s not a good policy.
How foolish is this. If you read the Bible you will notice the emphasis on today, not tomorrow. Jesus himself said: “As long as it is day we must do what the one who sent me wants me to do. When night comes, no one can work” (John 9:4). There’s also a remarkable encounter in Acts 26 when the apostle Paul stood trial before King Agrippa II. He was the great grandson of Herod the Great, and was interested in hearing what Paul had to say. Remember Paul had been Saul, a one-time persecutor of Christians and had imprisoned them. But he told the King how Jesus met him on the Damascus road and life was never the same. He boldly told King Agrippa he was blind and in spiritual darkness.
It makes fascinating reading. Here was an astute ruler and politician saying to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to become a Christian?” In other words: Paul, don’t you realize how powerful and intellectually sophisticated I am? This arrogant man put it off, away out of his mind. He did and said nothing. He procrastinated. Festus, who was with the King, told Paul he was crazy. Verse 30 of Acts 26 says “the king… left “. They walked out, not believing Paul’s persuasive message.
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Hebrews 3:15 says it clearly: “if you hear his voice today, don’t be stubborn like those who rebelled”. Of course we live in the present time. Today is all we’ve got—who knows what tomorrow will be like?
What are you putting off? I would guess many of us have things in our life that we know we ought to be doing. Maybe there is a person you need to talk to, but you really don’t want to risk the pain that might come if you have the conversation, so you put it off. Maybe there is a situation that needs attention, but you would rather simply have fun right now and mess with it later.
Martin Luther King Jr said, “Tomorrow is today. Procrastination is still the thief of time.” In thinking of our life with God, procrastination causes us to miss out on God’s best for our lives. It’s so easy to justify!
We think, One day I’m going to do that—so I’m not really being disobedient. We say,
- “Someday, I’m going to get serious about my relationship with God, but not right now.” Or,
- “One day, I’m going to get back in shape.”
- “One day I’m going to get my finances in order.” Or,
- “Sometime soon, I’m going to forgive that person that hurt me.”
Unfortunately, for many people, one day never comes. And on it goes.
I think what we have to do is learn to face and deal with uncomfortable situations by trusting God. He said he would provide what we need—he will supply what we lack and give us courage, wisdom, divine grace, and mercy—whatever it is we need. A good motto to have in life is Do it now as the Lord directs and enables me.
Dear Father, I know there will be difficulties coming my way. But give me the courage to face them in your strength. Help me to deal with these issues as they occur. I don’t really want to put them off to another day. I need your help,