The summer is a great time to do things around the house or yard, but each time, it takes me a mountain of coaxing and unrelenting reasoning simply to commit to paint the deck, mow the lawn, or clean out and vacuum the car. Does the word procrastination ring a bell? What about words like stalling or deferment? Why is it so easy to put off doing important stuff?
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) had similar questions. For example, in The City of God, he asked, why is it that we "are diligent with difficulty and without difficulty are indolent?"
Augustine posits that we procrastinate because to do anything requires labour. Labour requires an effort, and our "vitiated nature" may be hindering our "wishful talk" of getting to the summer chores.
The Gospel of Luke points out that some followers of Jesus are seen as "deferring disciples":
Luke 9:57-62 – Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God." And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house." But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (NKJV)
Now ask yourself these questions, as I asked them of myself: "With which person do you readily identify? Which excuse resonates with you?"
Imagine if God made excuses and deferred His blessings, even for only one day! What would you think of Him? Lesson learned? I thought so!
Let no one among us be a "deferring disciple".
Prayer: Gracious and faithful Father, as we consider the tasks ahead, we pray for the ability not to put things off. Forgive us when we procrastinate and leave undone what should be done. Thank You, Lord, for reminding us that procrastinating is all too easy. May we be diligent and not delay, even as Jesus our Saviour did not defer His mission. Amen.
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