Procrastination, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the action of delaying or postponing something. It is indeed a challenge that has beset many people, including myself! Even as I am writing this article, I realized that I have left it quite late, and very near to the given deadline to complete this assignment. This is real problem, which is why my first sermon topic a couple years ago was on this very topic of “Procrastination.”
Why do people procrastinate?
The Bible provides insight into the reasons behind procrastination. Proverbs 20:4 describes the slothful individual who neglects to plow in the autumn, only to seek a harvest later and find nothing. Laziness, lethargy, and also the reluctance to step out of one's comfort zone, contribute to the tendency to procrastinate. So often we tell ourselves after a long day’s work, “Perhaps I will go for a run tomorrow,” or “Let me read the Bible over the weekend when I am less tired.” However, we never get to it in the end!
The Bible also warns against misplaced priorities, as seen in Luke 9:59-62. Jesus emphasizes the importance of focusing on what truly matters, rather than being entangled in worldly concerns. Wrong priorities can lead to procrastination, distracting us Christians from doing what Jesus has commanded us to do. Are we focusing too much time or efforts on making more money, or enjoying pleasures in life, instead of spiritual matters?
Biblical Perspectives on Procrastination:
The Bible cautions against the dangers of procrastination, and emphasizes the need for immediate action. Matthew 5:24-25 urges reconciliation with offended brothers, emphasizing the importance of swift resolution in relationships. Ephesians 4:26 advises not to let anger fester overnight, reinforcing the idea that unresolved issues can lead to spiritual and emotional stagnation.
Procrastination in matters of salvation is particularly dangerous. Luke 14:21 speaks about the urgency of spreading the gospel, while James 4:14 highlights the fleeting nature of life. The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 emphasizes the importance of being prepared for the Lord's return, warning us about the consequences of procrastinating in the Lord’s work.
Many a times we hear the preacher remind us that we do not know when Jesus will come again, and indeed we do not! We need to be ready and not delay in preparing for His 2nd coming.
To combat procrastination, the Bible offers practical solutions. Colossians 3:23-24 encourages Christians to approach tasks with dedication, as if we are working for the Lord. This mindset shift can help us turn mundane tasks into meaningful contributions to the church, reducing the inclination to procrastinate. The motto from Nike "Just do it" also aligns with the biblical principle of taking action rather than succumbing to overthinking and failing to take action.
Making the right choices is crucial, and perhaps it would be a good reminder to ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?". This would help us in making the right decisions. The awareness of settling differences, spreading the gospel, and ensuring personal salvation serves as a reflection to combat procrastination.
Procrastination is a rampant issue that affects many in various aspects of life. By understanding its causes, and heeding to the wisdom of God’s Word, we can overcome the pitfalls of procrastination. Embracing a proactive mindset, rooted in biblical principles, enables us to strengthen relationships, and align our actions with God's plan and purpose. In confronting procrastination, the message is clear: Just do it, and let us do it for the glory of the Lord.