“Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16, ESV)
Are you a procrastinator? I confess; I put off certain tasks as long as I can. (Think doing my tax return, cleaning my storage area, or making a business call that will mean a long wait for a real person.) I know I shouldn’t procrastinate. I know doing so will increase my stress. But I do it anyway. I suspect it’s a common habit for many people.
Procrastination often has consequences—late fees, missed deadlines, sloppy last-minute work, missed flights, a disappointed spouse or friend. It may also affect our health as it has been linked to hypertension and some heart issues. While some consequences are more serious than others, none leave us feeling good about ourselves.
Why do we put things off? There are many reasons. It may be a lack of motivation, the fear of failure, perfectionism, or anxiety, just to name a few. Or, we may fill our time with insignificant tasks to convince ourselves we are getting something done.
When we procrastinate, we unnecessarily put off until another time something we should be doing now. If that something I’m putting off is cleaning my storage area, the consequences are not that significant. If my delay affects my spiritual life, that becomes a much more serious issue with eternal significance.
English poet Edward Young said, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Yes, it steals our time, but it also steals our fruitfulness. Proverbs 24:31 (NLT) talks about a man whose field “was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down.” His procrastination in caring for his fields resulted in unfruitfulness. His only harvest was weeds.
What does the Bible say about putting off until later what we should be doing today? While the word procrastinate is not in the Bible, numerous verses, such as Ephesians 5:15-17 (CSB), address the issue.
“Pay careful attention, then, to how you live — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
When we procrastinate, we rob ourselves of God-given opportunities to advance His kingdom. We miss possibilities to accomplish more in our own lives, and we miss chances to touch others with biblical truth. The above verses say that the days are evil—and we can definitely see that—so we must make the most of our time today to fulfill His will. “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2). Do it now.
Most of us do not intentionally procrastinate when it comes to doing the things of God. Our delay may come from busyness, a lack of confidence in our abilities, or the fear of failing. We may feel the task is too difficult or someone else can do it better.
In John 9:4 the Lord told His disciples, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” That same message holds true for us as well. We don’t know when the Lord will return, but the signs around us say it could be at any time. We must make the most of the time we have. Today—right now—is the time to get started. Whatever you hope to do for God, do it now.
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