Procrastination can be harmless enough that we notice our guilt of such and then tell ourselves it’s something we’ve got to stop doing – but, even that becomes procrastination. The point is, we are devoid of urgency. I remember a time many years ago when I was leaning to scuba dive. I was diving with friends (our “open-water exam”) in Little Traverse Bay in Petoskey, Michigan. At about 80 feet of depth, engrossed in the beauty of my underwater surroundings, I ran my air tank dry. One breath was there…the next wasn’t. that’ll get your attention! That was a pretty good word picture of “Urgency”. It’s also a pretty good antonym for “Procrastination”!
At that moment I cared little about whether I had money enough for my next car payment, whether the right candidate would be elected president, or if all my yard work was done at home. Praise God! My scuba instructor was right there with me, saw the terror in my eyes and offered me his octopus (spare regulator). I seem to remember pretty vividly that it didn’t take me long to decide to accept his invitation! There was no, “listen, I appreciate the offer but let me check with some of the other drivers in the area to see if maybe they have more air to spare. I’ll get back to ya!’, or, ‘I think I can squeeze out another few breaths. I’ll get around to that in a couple more minutes. But thanks anyway.’ At that moment, there was nothing in this life that was more important to me!
Unfortunately, we don’t always treat our opportunities or assignments with the same zeal or urgency. Dad tells us he’d like to have the garage cleaned out. We concur. ‘I’ll get on to that’, we say with our mouth. But, in our minds, our hearts, it’s, ‘…right after I finish my video game I’m playing’, or ‘…when I get around to it.’ Those “round to-its” are in short supply. We never seem to be able to find those. Then we realize it’s Friday and we’d really like to borrow the car tonight to take Suzy to the movies. So we hustle out to clean that garage…only to find that Dad got tired of waiting, so he cleaned it himself. Oops! ‘Dad! I was going to do that! I just got busy with other important things!’
Some things aren’t nearly so excusable. We’re given an opportunity or assignment and it isn’t taken seriously, urgently, there’s no second chance. Sometimes…there’s no “round to-it” to be had. The assignment is for “now”. When God calls on us, the Holy Spirit puts it on our heart, to do something, you best believe it’s a serious matter. There’s no maybe about it. It needs to be done “now”, not at our convenience. Sometimes the lessons God teaches us are hard to swallow. Like we say, ‘the truth hurts’.
The Bible warns us against procrastination and waiting for that perfect time to arrive. Getting your life straight, your relationship right with the Lord is a matter of utmost urgency. It’s not something to wait for that perfect sunny day or till you’re in that right spiritual mood. When that still soft voice calls you, convicts you…it’s time to act. One writer paraphrases Ecclesiastes 11:4 in this way; “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant, if they watch every cloud, they never harvest.”
Deuteronomy 23:21 If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin.
All too often people put off giving their life to Jesus, surrendering their will to His will in repentance and baptism, saying, “I need to do that…one of these days.” As if they have a set amount of time with which to work. James 4:14 says, Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
In Matthew 8 certain well-meaning disciples wanted to follow after Jesus, but not urgently enough to take top priority. 21 “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
The opportunities God gives us are urgent. Act on them and don’t procrastinate.