Deliver Us from Procrastination

How to avoid the pervasive thief of now.

David McKenzie, for Atlantic Union Gleaner
Deliver Us from Procrastination

Pandemic-motivated carpentry has been one of my coping mechanisms across the dynamic, uncertain 2020-21 terrain. After consulting with an expert and YouTube “how-to” videos for guidelines about completing various woodworking tasks, I felt encouraged to purchase a circular saw.

My search yielded pieces of equipment priced way out of my humble reach. After much prayer, the search was intensified. On a very promising afternoon, I found myself facing the elusive saw — priced at one-eighth of other prices I’d seen. Reluctant and startled, I turned and quickly called an expert, whose rushed response was, “What? At that price? It’s a gift! No need to stay here on the phone questioning the authenticity. Grab it!” 

I quickly retraced the few feet to the saw’s location to find a contractor with the said saw in his hands. He completed a hasty inspection and smilingly secured it in his shopping cart. I could hear the screams in my head but could not bring myself to confront this burly contractor about retrieving “my” saw. Quickly composing myself, I closed my lips that stood ajar in utter shock and dismay. The tedious, budget-constrained search continued.

What did you delay or put off yesterday that you planned to follow up with today, and it now appears that perhaps, tomorrow will be the best day to get it done? Every individual can readily identify a couple of responsibilities, tasks, or goals on which they took a rain check or temporarily avoided.

It’s human nature! According to one source, “On average, a person loses over 55 days per year procrastinating, wasting around 218 minutes every day doing unimportant things. Here’s the math: 218 minutes/day x 365 = 79,570 minutes = 55.3 days.”

A search of the internet reveals several other authorities who also note that there are various types of procrastinators (and reasons for procrastination). For example, the perfectionist, the dreamer, the avoider, and the crisis-maker. There are also many consequences, which include “blown” opportunities, loss of time, unmet goals, and ruined careers, to name a few.

Today, now, not sooner or later, Jesus calls us to be overcomers. We can begin attacking and gaining victories over procrastination today. We may need, first of all, to face it, admit that we are thus challenged, and identify the motivation or reason. After that, we are called to make time management and organizational aptitude into life goals — set personal deadlines, reduce all distractions, secure an accountability partner who will provide positive pressure, break tasks into manageable and achievable segments, or rotate everyday goal/task-related activities.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.”

Even our salvation can be at risk if we continue to hug and kiss in the arms of procrastination. God, in the Holy Scriptures, notes that now is the time. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

Today, let’s prayerfully seek God’s deliverance from this pervasive thief — procrastination. Not sooner or later; let’s do it now!

David McKenzie is the director of the Youth, Young Adult, Pathfinder, and Adventurer ministries in the Atlantic Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The original version of this commentary was posted by the Atlantic Union Gleaner.

David McKenzie, for Atlantic Union Gleaner