Summary: Procrastination is something that many of us struggle with. There’s something in your life you know you need to do, and yet you keep putting it off. That is called procrastination. Procrastination is a spiritual issue. The Bible says that procrastination
Jonah 1:1-5, 17
A recent survey of Americans found that only 10% of Americans say they struggle with procrastination. Right! Of course 90% never got around to filling out the survey. Did you know there’s actually a Procrastinators Club of America? Formed more than 50 years ago, they have 20,000 registered members. They claim that 20 million more haven’t got around to joining yet. And their motto (I’m not making this up) is “We’re behind you all the way!” They hold a Fourth of July party every January 6th.
In the sermon series, we’ve been looking at personalities in the Bible who did a lot of things well, but struggled in one area of their life. And for God to use them, they need a conversion. In today’s Scripture, we have Jonah who struggled with procrastination. He’s not alone. Procrastination is something that many of us struggle with. There’s something in your life you know you need to do, and yet you keep putting it off. That is called procrastination. Procrastination is a spiritual issue. The Bible says that procrastination eventually leads to poverty in all areas of our life. The good news is that God wants to liberate you from procrastination.
The first thing we need to do is understand the causes of procrastination. The Bible says there are five. Any time you know what you need to do and you keep putting it off, it’s always one of these reasons. First is indecision. James 1:8 says, “The double minded man is unstable in all he does.” Whenever you have a hard time making up your mind, you’re going to procrastinate. Today, with all the choices we have in life and the store, there’s always a temptation to procrastinate. Second is perfectionism. The problem is we set such a high standard and think, ‘I can’t do that’ so we never going to begin in the first place. Third is fear. Whenever we’re afraid of something, we tend to put it off. It could be the fear of failure or even the fear of success. What if I fail or worse yet, what if I achieve it, how do I top that? Fear can keep you from making that tough phone call, scheduling that counseling appointment, sharing your faith, volunteering your talents or pursuing your dream.
Fourth is passive resistance. Procrastination is often a way of getting back at people. It’s about control. If you’re a parent, you know this. Kids do this all the time. You tell them you want them to do something and then they say, “Just a minute.” Fifth is laziness. Proverbs 13:4 says “Lazy people want much but get little.” America’s favorite word today is “easy”. You’re never going to see a best seller with the title, “Ten Incredibly Difficult Ways to Lose Weight” or “Nine Really Tough Ways to Get in Shape.” We want it easy. The myth of procrastination is that if I put it off it’ll get easier. But the truth is procrastination only makes things worse. So whenever you’re procrastinating, you need to first ask what’s the cause? For Jonah, it was his fear: fear of going into a pagan nation, fear of sharing his faith, and fear of failure that the Ninevites might not respond.
Today, I’m going ask 3 questions about your life. First, what are you doing for heaven’s sake? God created you to be in relationship with him and to fulfill His purpose. Your life is not about you, your job, your money, your wants, or your family. You’re here as a follower of Jesus to accomplish the mission of Jesus in the world. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” There are two great days in every person’s life. The first day is when you were born; and the second day is the day you discover what you were born for. When you get in touch with why God created you, you discover your call from God. Here’s how that calling looks. The first call is general and is shared by all of us. It is a call to follow Jesus Christ. You can’t even begin to discover your life purpose unless you deal with that first call. It’s at that point that you make all your life available to God, to His purpose and to become like Jesus. The second call is your unique contribution to God’s mission, utilizing your spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experiences all the mission and glory of God. All of us have the responsibility or call to use our unique S.H.A.P.E. to reflect the holiness or wholeness of Jesus in the world and to serve Jesus’ mission in the world.
Procrastination in any area of life comes with a cost. The Bible is very clear about the destructive consequences of procrastination. Here’s three of them: First, it wastes opportunities in life. Ephesians 5:16 says, “Make the most of every opportunity for doing good.” The way to live a joy filled life is to take every opportunity that God sends our way and make the most of it. When opportunity knocks, you open the door. I wonder how many opportunities we’ve lost because we’ve procrastinated, opportunities to make a difference in a relationship or in another person’s life or to make a difference with my life in the world?