“Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you [Paul].’”
— Acts 24:25
Do you ever put off things until tomorrow? Do you wait for the perfect time and conditions before undertaking a challenge?
Many people procrastinate. The word “procrastination” comes from two Latin words that, combined, mean “toward tomorrow.” When we procrastinate, we look toward tomorrow, counting on it as a better day to face problems and difficult situations. Mark Twain once quipped, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
Although we joke about it, procrastination can be a harmful habit with disastrous consequences. In fact, George Washington unwittingly capitalized on a British officer’s procrastination to free America from British rule. During the American Revolution, when General Washington decided to cross the Delaware River on Christmas Eve to make a surprise attack on the Hessian army at Trenton, one of the British sympathizers discovered Washington’s plan and sent a warning note to the Hessian commander, Colonel Rahl. But when Rahl received the note, he was in his tent, playing cards with his officers. So instead of opening the letter, he put it in his pocket. Rahl finished his game just as the Americans surprised his army. Rahl’s procrastination cost him his honor, his command, and his life.
But the worst effects of procrastination are in the spiritual world. Someone once said that Satan had a meeting to discuss the best way to deceive humankind. The first demon said, “I’ll tell them the Bible is a fairy tale.” Satan rejected this plan. The second demon said, “I’ll tell them there is no God, no Christ, no heaven or hell.” Satan rejected this plan, too. The third demon said, “I’ll tell them everything is true. However, I’ll tell them there is no hurry.” Satan chose this plan.
Do you procrastinate? If so, would you like to stop? Then take some advice from Dr. Neil Fiore, author of The Now Habit. Fiore says procrastinators can overcome the habit by breaking down large tasks into thirty-minute segments and handling one segment a day. This procedure helps improve a person’s self-image and gives that person fresh excitement about his or her work. Choose a task you’d like to tackle, and ask God to show you the first step toward reaching your goal. Then take that step today, and watch how God works through and in you.