Illustration results for procrastination
Sermon Central Staff
THE DANGER OF SPIRITUAL PROCRASTINATION
There is a fable which tells of three apprentice devils who were coming to this earth to finish their apprenticeship. They were talking to Satan, the chief of the devils, about their plans to tempt and to ruin men. The first said, "I will tell them that there is no God."
Satan said, "That will not delude many, for they know that there is a God."
The second said, "I will tell men that there is no hell."
Satan answered, "You will deceive no one that way; men know even now that there is a hell for sin."
The third said, "I will tell men that there is no hurry."
"Go," said Satan, "and you will ruin men by the thousands."
The most dangerous of all delusions is that there is plenty of time.
(William Barclay: The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 2 [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], p. 317. From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, The parable of the Faithful & Wise Servant, 7/17/2010)
John Williams III
There is a classic story about procrastination and it goes like this. An American eagle was flying high over the Niagara River on a cold and wintry day. He saw a dead bullock (young bull) floating down river. He thought to himself, "What a great feast!" He landed and sank his talons deep into the carcass and began to feed on it. He thoroughly enjoyed the feast and was unwilling to let it go. He thought that he had plenty of time to withdraw. He continued to eat. He decided that he would let go at the last minute. Not long after that he was approaching the falls. He tried to fly away. However, he was in for a rude awakening when he found that his feet were frozen to the carcass. In the end, he fell with the carcass. (Paraphrased: Chaplain Forest D. Davies. Biblical Prisoners. Duluth: Priory Books, 1988, pp. 1-2).
“An Ever-Rolling Stream!” Genesis 6: 1-3 Key verse(s): 3: “Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for hie is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.’”
“It can wait until tomorrow!” Despite that old adage, “Never put off to tomorrow the things that you can do today!” , the fact is that there are many if not most things when examined with the critical eye that could always wait for another day, another better time, another opportunity to offer completion or execute disposal. Take doing your taxes, for example. Many has been the time that I, prompted by a striving to be efficient and on top of my game, have tried to complete my taxes before the middle of January had arrived. And, how often have I found that, once completed early, I only had to go back and change something any way since W-2’s had not yet arrived or a certain interest statement had not yet arrived from the bank. Doing taxes in an efficient and timely manner usually requires waiting for just the right tomorrow and then setting out to get the work done then. If you think about it, there are probably a lot of things in this life like that. Jumping the gun and trying to complete projects and tasks before they are ready can cause a whole lot of trouble. In fact, trying to save time in this manner can often result in the opposite, losing the time you had striven to save. When you come right down to it, perhaps there is nothing wrong with procrastination as long as you end up “winning” at the end. I’ve often heard it put this way: “A successful procrastinator puts off his work so long that by the time it’s finished, there’s no time not to like what he had done.”
What about the old adage “Everything comes to him who waits?” Doesn’t that mean that the longer I wait to plan something, initiate something or complete something, the better the odds that the waiting will result in a better product, a higher achievement and a more rewarding outcome when I finally do decide to address the issues? It would, of course, be great if this were the way all things were accomplished in this life. In a way it would be like just sitting back and letting things sort themselves out and then getting down to business. In a perfect world things would probably work that way. I have often felt that this was the method for accomplishment that Adam and Eve must have used. Things just happened when they were supposed to happen. Time, in essence, had as little meaning for them as it does for God.
But, in this imperfect world we live in, it is highly more likely that the longer we wait to do things, the harder and more unpleasant they will seem to be to start. Perhaps it’s the way we look at time that causes all the problem. We divide things into yesterday, today and tomorrow. Since we live in today and want to enjoy the moment and yesterday is beyond our reach, poor tomorrow so often gets the nod for the “to-do’s” in our lives. Yet, when you think of it, tomorrow and today are so inextricably linked that waiting for tomorrow is like waiting for the next minute to pass on your watch. There is always another minute; there will always be another tomorrow. Clarence Macartney writes, “At the threshold of a new year, we stand today at one of those divisions of time which man has established for his own convenience. The division is altogether imaginary and arbitrary. This day is no more the beginning of a new year than yesterday or the day before.
2 Samuel 12:1-12:15
1 Thessalonians 1:1-1:10
Can you imagine what it was like for the church in Smyrna as they watched their beloved and aged pastor burn at the stake? Polycarp was his name. he was a disciple of Jesus’ disciple, the Apostle John. One could tell it immediately because he possessed the same tenderness and compassion as his mentor.
Polycarp was Bishop of the church at Smyrna (present day Turkey). Persecution broke out in Smyrna and many Christians were fed to the wild beasts in the arena. The godless and bloodthirsty crowd called for the carcass of the leader – Polycarp.
The authorities sent a search party to find him. He had been taken into hiding for some Christians but the Romans tortured two young believers until they finally disclosed his location. When the authorities arrival was announced there was still time to whisk Polycarp away but he refused to go saying, “God’s will be done.”
In one of the most touching instances of Christian grace imaginable Polycarp welcome his captors as if they were friends. He talked with them and insisted they eat a meal. Ha made only one request before being taken away – he asked for one hour to pray. The Roman soldiers listened to his prayer. Their hearts melted and they gave him 2 hours to pray. They had second thoughts as well and were overheard asking each other why they were sent to arrest him?
Other authorities also experienced a warmed heart when Polycarp arrived. The Proconsul tried to find a way to release him too. “curse God and I will let you go!” he pleaded.
Polycarp’s reply was: “For eighty-six years I have served him. He has never done me wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King was has saved me?”
The Proconsul again looked for a way out. “The do this old man, just swear by the spirit of the emperor and that will be sufficient.’
Polycarp’s reply was: “If you imagine for a moment that I would do that, then I think you pretend that you don’t know who I am. Hear it plainly. I am a Christian.”
More entreaties by the Proconsul
Polycarp stood firm.
The proconsul threatened with the wild beasts.
Polycarp’s reply was: “Bring them forth. I would...
A traditional radio has a variable capacitor we know as a tuning dial. Its purpose is to help us tune into the right frequency and blot out competing stations.
Nothing distinguishes the solid disciple of Jesus Christ like his willingness to tune into and follow his Lord, blotting out competing masters. We can then march to his beat, not the beat of others.
Hearing that beat does not come by default, nor is it instinctive. It does not come through denial, procrastination, or going with the flow. It takes time in the Word, in church, in fellowship, and in prayer. We must tune and retune, because our tuning dial slips. Before we know it, we are on another station.
WHEN BEING GRACIOUS IS UNETHICAL
Sometimes people resent it when another is gracious, and sometimes graciousness can be unfair.
My brother-in-law Joel, worked hard to turn paper in on time. The teacher had said she would not extend the deadline. So he pulled an all-nighter and got it done, only to have the teacher extend the deadline. Joel answered that it was unfair, and he persuaded her to give the students who did turn in their papers on time "extra credit."
Yet that teacher would no...