“I’m not a procrastinator!” That is my new go-to saying whenever my wife notes something I need to do. Instead of waiting (and then forgetting), I’m trying to be more helpful by getting right to the task at hand.
The reason for saying “I’m not a procrastinator” is because, well, for much of my life I’ve had a tendency to procrastinate.
“I’ll get to it later–probably.”
“Now isn’t a convenient time.”
“Maybe the rapture will occur, and I won’t even have to do this hard thing!”
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time…” Ephesians 5:14-15a
There are, of course, some items that need to be pondered. We should be patient where patience is needed. But some things shouldn’t be put off. Some items need more immediate attention. Some things are better dealt with sooner than later.
Here are three things that ought not be waited on. Instead, these areas of life need our willingness to say, “No more putting this off. I’m not a procrastinator!”
1. Don’t wait on things that are important.
Instead of having that devotional time where you dig into God’s word and spend time in prayer, you can put it off until later. You think it might be more convenient at another time or that you just aren’t quite awake enough yet. But important things need to be done. Time in God’s word is too important to forget. Praying matters too much to be relegated to the vague hope of a better time. Important things need to be prioritized. Important things need to be tended to.
What you do with your time gives you a pretty good clue about what is really important to you. Putting things off suggests that maybe those items aren’t as important to you as you think.
Instead, make sure to prioritize those things that matter most. Prioritize your devotional life. Prioritize time with your family. Prioritize church attendance. Don’t wait on things that are important.
2. Don’t wait on things that are urgent.
Some foods have a shelf life. You eat them within that time frame or they spoil. Some issues of life have a shelf life. An opportunity to share the gospel with a questioning friend may never come again. It is too urgent to put off. A chance to minister to a dying family member can’t be relegated to another day. It is too urgent to put off.
You can’t prepare for that Sunday morning Bible study on Sunday afternoon. And, if you want to give your best to the class, you will want to begin your preparation long before late Saturday night. Time is always moving forward and that provides an urgency to seize the opportunities that come today, knowing that tomorrow is almost here.
3. Don’t wait on things that are difficult.
One reason we procrastinate is because we know the task that needs to be done is hard. We often put off dealing with problems or having hard conversations or engaging in necessary confrontations because those things can be so challenging. But putting those things off doesn’t make them go away. Sometimes our unwillingness to deal with them in a timely fashion only makes those problems harder.
I’m trying to learn not to put things off just because they are hard. Instead, I generally find it better to do the hard things first before moving on to simpler tasks. God asks some hard things of us. Hard doesn’t mean wrong. Sharing the gospel with others isn’t always easy, but don’t put it off when the opportunity comes. Serving in a ministry isn’t always easy, but don’t wait when the Lord prompts you to volunteer.
Maybe you struggle with putting things off just like I do. Maybe you too find yourself hoping the Lord returns so that you don’t have to do something you would rather not do. But, you know what? Even should the Lord return while you are doing that hard thing, it will be great that he finds you being faithful to what you need to do.
After all, you aren’t a procrastinator!
Doug Munton has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of O’Fallon since 1995.
He blogs at dougmunton.com.