Summary: A sermon that shows that Jesus did not procrastinate and neither should we.
Do It Now!
My wife Clair reckons that in many ways I am like my Dad. I guess in many senses she’s right. I have the same temperament as my Dad, I whistle almost as badly as him and I have a strong sense of family commitment as he had. However there is one trait that I carry that he never had – which is the tendency to procrastinate.
Being honest, at times I tend to be like a butterfly that flutters here and flutters there without any apparent sense of direction or purpose. My Dad was a very methodical kind of man who took one step at a time, whereas I tend to get interested in one activity and soon get bored and go off to tackle something else.
For instance if I set-to tidying up my office in our home, I would start sifting through the piles of paperwork and soon find a book or an article I hadn’t seen for sometime and end up reading it rather than getting on with the task in hand. If Clair were here today she would also testify to the number of unfinished DIY jobs that I have still to complete around the house!
My Dad had a saying that he often used when it came to urging me to get on with a task and it was – Do It NOW!
Edward Young once said that ‘Procrastination is the thief of time.’ It has also been said that men do procrastination better than women. Men tend to think ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing tomorrow.’ But the truth is that putting things off can often lead to additional problems.
Overturned wagon illustration
There is a story of a farm boy who accidentally overturned his wagonload of Corn in the road. The farmer who lived nearby came to investigate.
"Hey, Willis," he called out, "forget your troubles for a spell and come on in and have dinner with us. Then I’ll help you get the wagon up."
"That’s mighty nice of you," Willis answered, "But I don’t think Pa would like me to."
"Aw, come on, son!" the farmer insisted. "Well, okay," the boy finally agreed. "But Pa won’t like it."
After a hearty dinner, Willis thanked his host. "I feel a lot better now, but I just know Pa is going to be real upset."
"Don’t be foolish!" exclaimed the neighbour. "By the way, where is he?"
"Under the wagon."
In the text that we heard from Matthew 15:21-28 we find that Jesus was not one for Procrastination. He had a purpose and a plan for his life and he didn’t want to be distracted in any way.
Why was He there?
He had gone to the Mediterranean shore region of Tyre and Sidon, that today we would call the Lebanon. We don’t know why Jesus went there, maybe it was to have a break from all of the healing, preaching and teaching that was dominating his life at this point.
Maybe he wanted to get away from the Pharisees and teachers of the law that he chastised over their interpretation of their purification and cleansing rules, because the time wasn’t right for the Christ to be arrested and punished.
Maybe Jesus wanted to get away from it all and go somewhere nobody knew of him, or possibly he just wanted a holiday with his Disciples knowing that his end was soon to come upon him.
In the equivalent passage in Mark 7:24-30 we are told that Jesus ‘entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.’
Whatever the reason for going to this region a Canaanite woman, who is described in Mark’s version as being a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia, came and pleaded that Jesus heal her demon possessed daughter.
Jesus responded in an uncharacteristic way for Him, and if this passage were to be the only one you ever read, it might give you a totally distorted picture of what Jesus was like.
When Jesus was in Israel we read in the scriptures how he had real compassion for the sick and the needy and yet here he initially doesn’t respond at all. He does absolutely nothing and it is the Disciples who urge him to do something if only to send the woman away. They see this woman as being a nuisance and they just want her gone.
Have you ever felt the same way?
Someone turns up unexpected and you had planned what you were going to do for the day and suddenly here is a distraction. Now if it was me then I would probably be glad of an excuse to break off what I was doing, but if you were more determined to see your set task through then this unplanned visitor could be a real frustration.