A man was cleaning out his desk and found a shoe repair ticket that was ten years old. He figured he had nothing to lose to try to collect his shoes. He presented it to the repairman, who was gone for several minutes. He returned and gave the ticket back to the man, who asked, “Couldn’t you find my shoes?” The repair man replied, “Oh, I found them; they’ll be ready next Friday.”
Procrastination is not the result of lack of time to complete a task, but an attitude. A story is told of an infidel who died and left his estate, a farm, to the devil. This was no small matter of deliberation for the court. They handed down the following decision: “It is decided that the best way to carry out the wish of the deceased is to allow the farm to grow weeds, the soil to erode, and the house and barn to rot. In our opinion, the best way to leave something to the devil is to do nothing.”
We may not be infidels, but when we procrastinate and postpone the great decisions of life, we end up having willed our soul to the devil. Thomas Huxley in Technical Education wrote, “Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. It is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.”
Edward Young (1683–1765) wrote, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Gordon McDonald emphasized the seriousness of wasting time by titling two chapters of his book Ordering Your Private World respectively, “Has Anyone Seen My Time? I’ve Misplaced It!” (Chapter 6) and “Recapturing My Time” (chapter 7). How certain can we be that it can be recaptured or reclaimed? Solomon wrote that there is “a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Hosea said, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12).
Is procrastination stealing our time on earth from doing God’s will (Proverbs 15:23)? We must not be like those who were saying there are yet four months until the harvest. Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35).