Procrastination; September 17, 2019

Psalm 119:60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.

The NIV expresses this as a promise, “I will,” and the Japanese expresses it as a done deal, “I have.” With this particular content, that’s a huge difference! Procrastination is something that apparently everyone struggles with at times. Recently my Internet feeds have presented me with several articles and even books on the subject. I know my father lamented his own tendency to procrastination, and yet he was an enormously accomplished individual who hardly ever took a vacation. The whole matter of time management seems to be on our minds. Yesterday, I think it was, I saw the title of an article that said something like, “Time Management is Ruining Us,” but I didn’t read it. We are all aware, to differing degrees at different times, of the truism that we can’t stop time, and once past it can’t be reclaimed. That’s simply a fact of life, so the issue becomes what we do with our time, and that’s where the struggle comes in. The problem is, we don’t evaluate our own use of time very accurately. Some things we pass over are actually very important, and some things we stress are actually of very little consequence. The wisest course is without question to listen for what God is saying and be quick to obey Him, as the Psalmist says here. Procrastination with some things can even be advantageous, but never when it comes to obeying God.

I am at times sharply aware that I let things slide and essentially waste time, but then at other times I am reminded of what the Lord has told me personally: rest, relax, rejoice. Thinking back, one of the best things about my training in the Army (I was drafted in 1970) was that I had next to no responsibility for my use of time; everything was decided for me. It wasn’t necessarily the best use of my time, but I had no say in the matter, and frankly, that was often much easier than having a lot of “free time.” These days I guess I could be called “semi-retired,” since I am still working but most of my time is rather unstructured. My recent time in the hospital was in a way a flashback to my time in the Army, because everything was decided externally to me. The thing is, I am accountable to God for how I use every moment of my life. I am not to be paranoid about it, but I am to give my life for Christ, on a moment-by-moment basis. At times I think that martyrdom would be a much easier way to do it! I am reminded that the sons of Zebedee both “drank the cup that Jesus drank,” (Matthew 20:20-23) but James did it the easy way, with a sword to the neck, while John was the only one of the 12 apostles to die a natural death. I personally think he had it much harder! I have always felt a great affinity to John, so I guess I have no room to complain about having to be in this for the long haul!

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me indeed be quick, and not delay in obeying You. May I not be anxious about it, but may I be a good steward of the time and opportunities You give me, so that Your will may be done in and through me on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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