Perhaps you heard the story of the individual who was always putting things off. One day he adamantly declared that he was going to stop procrastinating, beginning next week. People usually laugh when this real or fabricated story is told. However, one wonders how many there are who are guilty of the same thing. Roget’s Thesaurus gives four synonyms of the word procrastination. They are, “postpone, put off, stall (delay).” There are times when one ought to take a minute before speaking or acting. However, delay in some areas could be fatal.
Beloved, procrastination is one of the great thieves of all time. Those who sell real estate have a motto: Time is of the essence. Real estate agents believe in getting the contract signed and the sale closed as soon as possible. They realize that many things could go wrong. Delay in doing many things has resulted in failures. Perhaps a number of readers have expressed some remorse as a result of loses due to delayed activity.
Successful real estate agents do not put off showing houses until everything is convenient, until some day. Those who buy and sell stock have learned to act swiftly. How many businesses have failed due to a delayed starting time? Sports coaches and managers have lost games by delaying the change of some athlete(s). A player may have been left in a game one play too long. How many students failed tests because they waited until the last minute to study? How many children and adults have died because someone knew of the danger they were in, but delayed acting to correct the situation? On and on one might go, giving example after example of the loses one sustains as a result of procrastination.
Tragically, there is a procrastination which dwarfs all of the foregoing combined. Masses of people have delayed submitting to Christ as their Lord and Savior though they know who He is. A good number of these plan to obey Jesus one day, when they get around to it. They are somewhat like Felix, who told Paul, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” (Acts 24:25). He put off becoming a Christian, though he trembled and called for Paul and communed with him. (Verse 26). The scriptures never record that Felix ceased to procrastinate, that he turned his life over to Jesus. How tragic if this is the end of the story of Felix’s life. There are also many members of the “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16; Matthew 16:18), people who have obeyed Jesus and been freed from sin (Romans 16:17, 18), saved (Hebrews 5:8, 9), added to the church (1 Corinthians 12:13), who like the church at Ephesus, have left their first love. (Revelation 2:1-7). Perhaps you, dear reader, obeyed Jesus, but you have become unfaithful, as did those of Ephesus. The Lord would remove the candlesticks (churches) which did not repent. (Revelation 2:5). Possibly, they planned to repent one day; however, there is no inspired record that they did. Procrastination is a great deceiver. Repent now.
What about you??? Are you a child of God? Do you plan to become a Christian? How long have you known what you need to do? Paul said, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2).The Hebrew writer declared the time to be “To day.” (Hebrews 3:7, 13, 15; 4:7). Jesus said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24:42). That statement was made to His disciples, but it applies to all. Verse 46 says, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Mark 13:32 includes Jesus in the company of those who do not know when God will send Him back. Read Matthew 24:37-44 to magnify and emphasize the Lord’s words. Thus, we have the urgent plea of Jesus, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:28, 29). Do not procrastinate any longer. Jesus did not put off dying for you; do not wait to obey Him. Love Him as He loved you. (John 15:13; 14:15).
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39). The Bereans are great examples of those who heeded the words of Jesus. These most noble people heard Paul in the synagogue of the Jews (Acts 17:10), and “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Verse 11). Please do not miss the results of this, “Therefore many of them believed…women…men, not a few.” (Verse 12). Study the scriptures today and daily (2 Timothy 2:15), believe (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6), repent (2 Peter 3:9), confess Jesus and God as and when you confess the Deity of Christ (Acts 8:37), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), straightway, immediately (ASV), without delay (TCNT)(16:33), by burial or planting (Romans 6:1-6), in water (Acts 8:38), to enter Jesus (Galatians 3:26, 27), and the Church. (1 Corinthians 12:13). The writer’s father used to tell him, “If there is a difference in what man and God says, always go with God. He will always be right.” How true! Your procrastinating is over. Delay no more. Speak to someone “straightway” to obey Jesus.
Also, without delay, parent(s), sit down with your children right now. Teach your precious children, who are dependent upon you to lead them correctly, when and how to become children of the King. (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:1ff). You brought them into this world. Take them to a new heaven and earth. (2 Peter 3:13, and context).
Get the message to your family and others without delay. Imitate Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, who “first findeth his own brother…and brought him to Jesus….” (John 1:40). Imitate Philip, who found Nathaniel. (John 1:43-45). Be as zealous as was Paul, who, when he was converted, faithfully and zealously and courageously taught the word of God to others (Acts 9-28; Pauline epistles). Paul preached the saving gospel (Romans 1:16) to every one in every place who would hear the word of God, even if it meant imprisonment (Acts 16:15-40) or death. (2 Timothy 4:6-13). This great saint penned over half of the books of the New Testament. He covered so much land and sea. What might he have done had he enjoyed the mass communications and speedy transportation we have? Paul urged saints to be “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11). Using the word of the Lord, he taught the keeper of the prison and all that were in his house what to do to be saved, and baptized the jailor and all that were in his house immediately, without delay, at midnight. (Acts 16:19-40, especially, verses 30-33). Philip, when called from preaching to and converting many in Samaria, “arose and went”; and he preached Jesus to one man. (Acts 8:27-40).
The beguiling adversary, the devil (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 5:8), wants you to wait about obeying Jesus. He knows that by so doing he can keep you and those whom you might influence from going to heaven. He wants you in hell with him. Do not be deceived by him. Tell the wiley one (Ephesians 6:11), that you are on your way to obey and live for God. Tell him that you will no longer be one of his unrighteous servants. Demand that he cease to tempt you. Tell him what Jesus did in the wilderness, “Get thee hence.” (Matthew 4:1-11).
Friend, you have no power to grant yourself another second, much less another day. (James 4:13-17). You do not even know if you will be alive, much less do what you have planned. Years ago, a man put off obeying God in a gospel meeting. He decided to delay no longer. He stopped to tell a bartender of his plans, and asked that he not sell his brother any more liquor. He was shot to death on the spot. His last words were, “OH, God! That I had obeyed the gospel in Jack McCleroy’s meeting.” “Resist stedfast in the faith” the devil. (1 Peter 5:8, 9). Call the one who gave you this tract to help you in this moment of your obedience.