Eh, I’ll do it tomorrow…
Tomorrow comes, and the task doesn’t get completed.
This is the life of a chronic procrastinator.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.James 4:17 (NIV)
Let me tell you, the first time I read James 4:17, I was beside myself. It’s easy to boast that you’re not a sinner if you only consider the obvious sins. Lying. Stealing. Committing murder. Disobeying your parents…
But putting something off until the next day is a sin?? Are you kidding me?
Of course, as with any verse in the Bible, there are many different ways to interpret this—as it relates to the surrounding text or applying it to real-world situations. For example, during the height of the George Floyd protests, I remember seeing signs that said “Silence = Violence” or “Silence is Compliance” or “Silence is Collaboration,” suggesting that if one sees injustice happening and does nothing about it, then they are an equal participant in it (i.e., they are just as guilty of committing the sin too).
I mean, this is literally what “accessory to [insert crime here]” means, and people are charged with and convicted of it, so there must be some truth in the notion that it is wrong to see the good that you can do but still choose to do nothing.
Yet most of us don’t want to hear that, because simply doing nothing, or remaining silent, is not an action we immediately recognize as bad or wrong.
And that was my initial reaction when I first read that verse, and the Holy Spirit said to me, You procrastinate.
“What? No!” I responded. “I’m gonna do it!”
“When I have time.”
What’s stopping you from doing it right now?
“Well, nothing, I suppose, but—”
But this is more important. Open doors will close if you don’t act now.
The “sinful procrastinator” in me is quite stubborn, though, and when I do eventually get to doing that one thing I’ve waited until the last minute to start, I’m rushing to complete it, resulting in me not really putting in my best effort: a less-than-perfect product because the ever-procrastinator took too long to make it happen.
What is the reason for my constant procrastination? Is it fear of success, fear of failure, fear of it being too hard, lack of organization/discipline, lack of motivation because I allowed my to-do list to get so long I’m overwhelmed with work, lack of sleep because I’m double-minded, easily distracted, and won’t let my mind rest? All of the above?
As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.John 9:4 (NIV)
When I consider what the Bible says about procrastination, my mind immediately goes to the book you’re probably least likely to think of: Jonah.
When God instructed Jonah to preach to the city of Nineveh, he decided instead to go to Tarshish. Think of what would have happened had he stayed in his disobedience. The people of Nineveh would have never received the word from God and would have never repented of their sins. Those poor sailors who were caught in the storm sent by God while Jonah was hiding out in their ship could have died.
I don’t know if my lack of urgency will ever have such dire consequences, but you never know how one small task can save someone else. If this simple word encourages a reader to do something they’ve been dragging their feet on, then I’m happy that I didn’t procrastinate in posting it!
Is there anything you’re lying to yourself about? Procrastinating on?
2 thoughts on “Bloganuary Day 23”
So true. This also reminds me of times with my kids when they tell me things that I need to remember and I forget. I can easily dismiss my errors and blame them on my faulty brain (which is fairly true), but I also could go out of my way to devise a plan to make sure I remember things that I need to so they feel cared for and I don’t forget. Am I lying when I blame my bad brain? Depends on how hard I tried. Thanks for tying your blog in with the verse. Makes me so glad for God’s grace!
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I’m so forgetful too, and I hate it because I never want people to think I don’t care when I do. I’ve taken to writing more things down. Am I lying if I really did forget? Who knows. But at least when writing it down, I can hold myself accountable.
And yes! Thankful every day for God’s grace!