Most of us are guilty of procrastination at some time or another. Mark Twain quipped, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
In Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man,” Harold Hill said to the librarian, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”
We can put some things off until tomorrow without consequence. It isn’t a big deal. No one gets hurt. Life goes on. However, when it comes to our mission as followers of Jesus, procrastination has serious consequences – eternal consequences, far more serious than a “lot of empty yesterdays.” When we put off doing what God has called us to do– to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth– not only are we being disobedient, but we are risking the eternal destiny of lost souls.
Jesus said, “We must work the works of Him who sent me as long as it is day. The night is coming when no one can work.” John 9:4 (NASB)
There is an ancient story from the Desert Fathers about three demons. The demons were arguing over the best way to hinder and defeat the Christian mission in the world. The first demon says, “Let’s tell all the Christians there is no heaven. Take away the reward and incentive, and the mission will collapse.” The second demon says, “Let’s tell the Christians there is no hell. Take away the fear of punishment and they will abandon the mission.” The third demon says, “There is a better way. Let’s tell the Christians there is no hurry.” All three demons immediately said, “Yes, that’s it! All we have to do is make them believe there is no urgency in what they do, and before long, they will abandon the mission.”
Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations. The best translation of the word nations is the word peoples. The Great Commission directs the Church to take the Good News to every ethnic people group in the world. Two thousand years after receiving His command, how are we doing? Of the 11,301 people groups in the world in the world today, 6,406 of them have no indigenous community of believing Christians able to engage them with the Gospel. In other words, more than half of the world’s population urgently needs to hear the message of Christ to be able to have the opportunity to respond. Millions die every day without ever having the chance to hear the Gospel.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian believers said, “As God’s fellow workers, we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation, I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2
This is the reality of the world around us. The question is, is there any urgency in the way we live our lives? Do we live in such a way to take full advantage of every opportunity to share the message of Christ? Are we making the most of our time? If not, let us heed the words of Scripture, “Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Finally, the most subtle and dangerous result of our procrastination is the tendency to devalue the task we are postponing. An old Scottish proverb says, “What may be done at any time, will be done at no time.”
The world is waiting to hear the message of God’s grace and love from us. They long to hear about His forgiveness and mercy. The importance of our message and the reality of their condition demands we not put this mission off until tomorrow. We must “redeem the time,” and share with those who have never heard–today!
The Apostle Paul said, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11