Posts Tagged ‘procrastination’

Time Well Spent

April 24th, 2013

“Make every minute count.” Ephesians 5:16 CEV.

You cannot buy, borrow, or bargain for more time than God gives.

My thoughts and comments today are about “time well spent.”

Most of everything you use or lose can be replaced, except for time. It is a mistake to not value time as you should or use it as wisely as you could. Time is a limited commodity; you cannot buy, borrow, or bargain for more time than God gives you. Use the time you have, well and wisely. Time is irreplaceable, much too precious to waste; invest in people and matters of eternal importance rather than spending it frivolously. Jesus advised, “Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven . . for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NIV.

James’ counsel was that you not presume anything about tomorrow, because “How do you know what will happen tomorrow?” James 4:13-17 NLT. The Psalmist prayed, “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NLT. The wise objective is to prize each moment, investing it wisely as a gift from God. Paul’s counsel is, “Make every minute count . . find out what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:16-17 CEV. Here’s practical advice how to do that.

(1) Just say, “No.” Learning to say no to things – or people – that waste time allows you opportunity to say yes to God’s will, caring for your responsibilities, and being helpful to others. Stress results when you busy yourself with things not your responsibility, or commit to more than you can accomplish in available time. Jesus could confidently say to His Father, “I have finished the work You gave Me to do.” John 17:4 TEV. Jesus was not distracted by lesser matters, understanding personal priorities and knowing what is eternally important.

(2) Avoid procrastination. Ignoring things that must be done wastes time now and usually takes more time later. Personal and spiritual maturity is evidenced by doing what you should even when you don’t feel like doing so, just because that is what you should do. Jesus said, “I always do those things that please [the Father].” John 8:29 NKJV. Can you say that today? My spiritual life improved noticeably when I understood that procrastinated obedience is merely disobedience by lesser name. Read Matthew 21:28-31 NIV. Obeying God promptly and fully is time best spent.

(3) Take time to abide in Christ. Time reflecting on God’s Word, worshiping in His presence, and serving others is time well spent. Jesus was clear,“You cannot be fruitful unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 NKJV. You will be more effective, more fruitful, more successful, and so much more satisfied. Listen and learn from the One Who will guide your life and direct your steps. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV. Your time doing so is well spent and makes every other minute more effective. A disciple of Jesus will trust His promise, “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness, and all these other things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:33. Life works best God’s way. First things first” is always good advice.

My prayer for you today is that you value time and use it with eternal purpose in mind.

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April 23rd, 2012

“Be sure to do what you should. Galatians 6:4 NLT

Procrastinated obedience is simply disobedience disguising itself.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “procrastination.”

What are you putting off that you should do today? Ask yourself, “Why do I have trouble getting started on things that I know I should do?What was your answer or excuse, as the case may be? Procrastination is never your best answer – to a task, challenge, promise, or problem. More often than not, now is the best time; today is the best day!

Many things that you will put off doing are not so bad once you actually begin. The hard part is moving past the emotional inertia and simply getting started. There are some tasks that take less time to complete than a person wastes waiting for just the “right time” to begin. Wrongly, you may assume that the right time is the time that you “feel” like doing what you should do, and that is rarely the case. It’s starting that stops you.

In a beloved movie, “The Sound of Music,” Maria teaches the Von Trapp children, “Let’s begin at the beginning; a very good place to start.” And today is a very good place to start! The Bible says, “You who say, ‘tomorrow we are going to a certain town . . we will do business there and make profit.’ How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog – it’s here for a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:13-14 NLT. Begin today before the opportunity is missed.

Have you felt the Lord gently nudging you to do something you have been putting off? What seem reasons to you may sound like excuses to the Lord. You may not say you won’t do what the Lord is asking, but maybe you haven’t said that you would either. Valuable time is wasted while waiting, time wasted in your life, and time and opportunity wasted for the Kingdom of God – time you can never recover, time lost forever.

Jesus told a story about two sons. Read Matthew 21:28-32. Both were clearly asked to work in their father’s fields, “today.” The first said he would not, “but afterward repented and did.” Did he go later that day, or a later day? Does it matter? The other said that he would, “and did not go.” Was he lying? Probably not. Like me sometimes, he probably meant to do it that day after he took care of something else first. Jesus asked a pointed and pertinent question: “Which of the two did the will of his father?” Think about that; how would you answer the question?

The real answer is: neither did the will of their father, not as and when he wanted. I don’t think that either son wanted to disobey their father. Like us, they probably just had previous plans or things they preferred instead. “Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well.” Galatians 6:4 NLT. It is not always as simple as today’s verse sounds, is it?

My Dad taught me a valuable life-lesson when I was still a teen, “First things first!” The right thing to do is always the best thing to do, and first is always the right time to do that. Procrastinated obedience is not obedience really; it is simply disobedience disguising itself. I have observed that any delay to obey makes obedience less likely or less complete. Do you find it easier to be prompt about things for more immediate and temporal benefit than in matters of eternal consequence to yours or others’ lives? Why not begin today “to do what you should!” It keeps life simpler.

My prayer for you is that you put off what you should not do, not what you should.

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Why Not Now?

January 11th, 2011

“Created in Christ to do good works.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV

“Use what you have, in the time that you’re given, and you will receive what you need.”

My thoughts today ask, “why not now?”

As a teen, I think I was a procrastinator. Right now never felt like a convenient time; later always seemed better. My Dad often had to remind me, “There is no better time than right now to do what you should do.” Too easily, people waste valuable time and miss irreplaceable opportunities waiting for a better time later. There is a principle of stewardship that can be simply stated as, “Use what you have, in the time that you’re given, and you will receive what you need.” Have you ever wasted time just waiting, doing nothing? Have you held onto hope, while meanwhile, doing little to move in the direction of your hope?

A lot of your life will be lived “in the meanwhile” – awkward, uncomfortable times between what you’re experiencing and what you are expecting. Know this; some measure of your future is inseparably connected to your present efforts. What you do now impacts what you will have of God’s promise and intention later. Use the moments now advantageously.

God’s command, “Multiply there and do not decrease,” was written to people in an extreme and adverse situation. See Jeremiah 29:6 NAS. Their nation had been plundered; Israel’s best and finest – leadership, nobility, and skilled – were taken from their homes and country to live in a foreign land. In the midst of such times, God made a wonderful promise of His plans to give them “a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT.

Essentially, God said to them, “Your future starts now. You evidence your belief in tomorrow by being productive today.” Read Jeremiah 29:4-14. Some people dismiss the possibility of any reversal of present experience as unlikely, returning to low expectations and old routines. Others might take such a promise as fact, but simply mark their time waiting rather than working for a better future. Both groups will be disappointed with a future that never arrives.

The practical truth is this; live fully today while looking forward to tomorrow. Being productive where you are is the best way to get where you want to be. God’s instruction to Israel was strange but simple: build houses; plant gardens; raise families; prosper today; bless others, and pray for the prosperity of all around you. St. Augustine wrote: “Work as though everything depends upon you; pray as though everything depends on God!” What are good seed are you sowing today that God can bless?

Remember, you were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV. What you do now shapes the fullness of your future. Become productive now in every way that you can. Evidence faithfulness; strengthen conviction; demonstrate character; develop potential. Multiply now to enjoy the maximum later. Prepare for your envisioned future. Be ready when God releases your future. People who do not prepare live pointless, unproductive, and unhappy lives. 

My prayer for you today is: realize the greatness of God’s heart for you today and tomorrow.

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Time Well Spent

August 5th, 2010

“Make every minute count.” Ephesians 5:16 CEV

Everything that you use or lose can be replaced, except for time.”

My thoughts today are about “time well spent.”

About everything that you use or lose can be replaced, except for time. Time is an incredibly valuable commodity, irreplaceable really. Because there seems to be so much of it, you may not value time as you should or use it as wisely as you could. But is there so much time that you have plenty, and to spare? You cannot know how much time you will have, and to live as though you have all the time in the world is presuming upon the future.

James’ counsel was that you are not to assume anything about tomorrow “because you do not know what a day will bring.” James 4:14.  The Psalmist prayed, “Teach us to number our days, that we might apply our hearts to wisdom.” Psalm 90:12. Your goal should be to prize each hour and day granted to you, and to use time wisely and invest it fully in matters of Kingdom priorities and eternal realities.

Here’s some practical advice to “make every minute count:”

(1) Just say no, to things (or people) that waste your time, so that you have opportunity to say yes to the best investment of your time to do God’s will, care for your responsibilities, and be helpful to others – to serve God well. You will feel stress when you commit to more than you can accomplish in the available time. Jesus could confidently say, “I have finished the work that (Father) gave Me to do.” John 17:4. Jesus knew what was eternally important. I want my life to be focused on what matters most.

(2) Put off procrastination. You can always do that later! Putting off things that must be done, and could be done now, wastes time presently and inevitably takes more time later. An evidence of personal and spiritual maturity is doing what you don’t feel like doing when you don’t feel like doing it, just because it is what you should do. Jesus said, “I do always those things that please the Father.” John 8:29.  Obeying God promptly and fully in your everyday life is time best spent.

(3) Take time to be holy. “You cannot be fruitful unless you abide in Me,” Jesus taught. John 15:4. Keep in touch daily with the One Who can guide your life and direct your steps. See Proverbs 3:5-6. Time spent doing so is well spent, making every other minute more effective.

Jesus taught that if you “seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness, all these other things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:33. When Jesus is first, everything else that should fit, does. When He is not, nothing works as well as it could.

My prayer for you today is to establish priorities in your personal and spiritual life.

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Simple Obedience

July 28th, 2010

“If you just listen and don’t obey . .” James 1:23 NLT

To obey is to do fully and promptly what you know clearly to do!

My thoughts today are that “simple obedience.”

Have you ever noticed that when a child does not promptly obey, a parent will usually ask, “Did you hear me?” In the Greek language, the language in which most of the New Testament was written, the word obedience comes from the root word, “to hear.” Life is this simple; hearing presumes obedience.

It is a mistake to assume that a person will do better if they know more. So we give them more information, and wonder why they do not do better. More information is not what a wrongdoer needs. I have observed that the real problem is this: people are naturally inclined to do too little of what they know, rather than their knowing too little of what to do. Jesus gives people greater truth, not more information, and adds inspiration to that – the desire and power to do what you know to do. “It is God that works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.

I was just a teen when my spiritual life was permanently changed at a youth service by a testimony from the newly saved mother of one of my friends. Whatever else she said, God spoke quietly but powerfully into my heart and life when she challenged us with a probing question Jesus asked, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?” Luke 6:46 NIV. Read Matthew 7:24-27. If Jesus is your Lord, your obedience is not optional.

Jesus told a story of a father who asked each of his two sons to work in his vineyard. The first son said that he would not work, but later decided that he would do as his father asked. The other said that he would work in the vineyard, but ultimately did not. He knew what his father wanted, and simply chose not to bother. Jesus asked his listeners, “Which son did the will of the father?” Matthew 21:28-31 NIV.

The correct answer is, neither. They both had sufficient information of their father’s need and intent, but neither of them had sufficient interest to do what they knew. You are never commended for eventually doing what you knew to do much earlier. Procrastinated obedience is actually just temporary disobedience. To obey is to do fully and promptly what you know clearly to do! See James 5:1 NLT.

James, the brother of Jesus, compares God’s Word and will to a mirror that reveals a true and accurate reflection of yourself that inspires you to live according to the knowledge you have. But James warns against turning away and ignoring what you know. That describes a person who “listens but does not obey . . one who looks intently at the (Word of God) and abides in it . . that man will be blessed in all he does.” James 1:23/25.  If you will take care of the “doing, “ God will be faithful with His “blessing.”

My prayer for you today is that you know the will of God for your life, and do it!

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