I know that sounds a little pushy, but I wanted to get your attention so we could tackle one of our biggest problems: procrastination. Most of us are filled with good intentions, but far too often, we never get around to carrying them out. In his book Being the Best, Denis Waitley says some things about procrastination that should cause us to think. For example, he said, “When you stop to think about it, there is no such thing as a future decision. You face only present decisions that will affect what will happen in the future.”
Elisha Grey is a real-life example. He was an electrical engineer in Illinois who developed an incredible invention. In 1874 he set up his invention in the sanctuary of the Highland Park Presbyterian Church. He strung a large spool of telegraph wire all through the church and attached a liquid-based microphone. Then he explained his belief that people’s voices could be carried through the wires. The crowd became very quiet, and they were actually able to hear someone speak from another room. Incredible!
The crowd was thrilled at what they heard. Potential investors, though, weren’t so enthusiastic. They said it was a waste of money. Mr. Grey got discouraged and set aside his idea of a telephone. Two years later he changed his mind and traveled to the United States Patent Office to apply for a patent for his telephone. Unknown to Elisha Grey, though, another man had developed a similar invention. Just two hours before Elisha arrived at the patent office, a man by the name of Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent. The rest, as they say, is history.
Putting things off can cause us to lose much more than a good invention. A Roman governor named Felix lost much more when he put off doing the right thing for two years. The apostle Paul had been arrested and was brought before Governor Felix to defend himself. Paul used that opportunity to explain the need that Felix had to be set free from his sin. “But as [Paul] was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, ‘Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.” . . . he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him. But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned” (Acts 24:25-27). Felix spent two years looking for just the right time to receive Christ’s offer of forgiveness. I guess the “right time” never came.
If you know you need to give your life to Christ, then Jesus has a warning for you: “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:48-51). The Bible explains that “the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).
Gloria Pitzer has written this clever little poem:
Procrastination is my sin
It brings me naught but sorrow.
I know that I should stop it
In fact, I will…tomorrow.
Waiting to do the right thing can be fatal. “Give glory to the Lord your God, before He brings darkness and before your feet stumble on the dusky mountains, and while you are hoping for light He makes it into deep darkness, and turns it into gloom” (Jeremiah 13:16 ).
Remember, “You face only present decisions that will affect what will happen in the future.” “Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually” (Psalm 105:3-4).