Is there anything that has promised so much, but delivered so little as procrastination? Some delays are dangerous, while others are absolutely damnable? Procrastination has been aptly called, “the Devil’s chloroform,” or “spiritual suicide on the installment plan.” Procrastination blinds us to the opportunities and blessings of today, promising action “tomorrow.” There is a wealth of wisdom in Proverbs 27:1, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Procrastination undoubtedly costs souls – the souls of others and perhaps even our own.
Procrastination has to do with putting off things intentionally and habitually that ought to be done. But the time eventually comes when we are fresh out of “later.” Yet such delays are common for many, and it is easy to offer excuses for putting matters of real priority off. Someone once penned, “Procrastination is my sin: It brings me only sorrow: I know that I should stop it, In fact, I will – tomorrow.” Our love for God (Mark 12:30), our determination to seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6:33), and our genuine concern for the souls of men (2 Cor. 5:14) should motivate us to take great pains to avoid the sins of procrastination.
The work of God gives many examples of procrastination. Despite God’s instruction, Lot “lingered” in Sodom until the Lord mercifully had His angels take him and his family outside of the city to flee the destruction to come. In Exodus 8:10, when Pharaoh was asked when Egypt was to be delivered from the plague of frogs, his response was “tomorrow.” In Haggai 1:1-11, God’s people are rebuked for procrastinating in the rebuilding of God’s house while they lived in ice homes. The people were told by the Lord, “Consider your ways.” The foolish virgins of Matthew 25: 1-13 are classic examples of procrastination and unpreparedness. And then there is Felix. As Paul spoke to him, “he reasoned of righteousness, and self-control, and the judgment to come” (Acts 24:25). Felix procrastinated. He “was terrified, and answered, Go thy way for this time; and when I have convenient season, I will call thee unto me.”
The word of God encourages all to avoid the plague of procrastination. It would be wonderful if every child of God better applied Psalm 119:60, “I made haste, and delayed not, To observe thy commandments.” Our Lord said, “We must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Surely there is a sobering reminder in this verse for all of us regarding our own lives too. There must be a sense of urgency when it comes to the will and the work of God. Ecclesiastes 11:4 offers tis counsel: “He that observes the wind shall not sow; and he that regards the clouds shall not reap.” Excuses and procrastination are leading causes of spiritual crop failure! (cf. Rom. 1:13; Gal. 5:22-23)
Scripture repeatedly emphasizes the importance of today (2 Cor. 6:1-2; Heb. 3:7,13). The great tragedy of procrastination is that it causes us to fail to fully appreciate the value of today. When we see each day of life as a stewardship, a gift and a sacred trust (2 Cor. 4:1-2; James 1:17), our daily activities will show it. When we contemplate that we will give an account to the Lord for the way we managed His Blessings, the sin of procrastination becomes even more evident (2 Cor. 5:10). Truly, the best way for us as Christians to make dreams come true regarding life’s most important matters is to wake up from the slumber of delay.