Last week at seminary, my professors mentioned repeatedly the need to write a little bit each day on the major project report. They warned us not to procrastinate! That simple warning does not convey the biblical seriousness of neglecting a plan to avoid procrastination.
My wife and I had a physician early in our marriage who told us “If you don’t have a plan to prevent pregnancy, you have planed to get pregnant.” The proverb this doctor offered holds true when one applies it to this situation as well. A paraphrase might read like this, “if you don’t have a plan to prevent procrastination, you have planned to procrastinate.”
So what does the Bible say about this? Look at Romans 12:17. There Paul gives a warning against merely responding to the world’s evil in kind. He then gives each believer a practical plan to avoid such evil responses. He says “give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” In other words Paul says to plan ahead not to do anything evil, including procrastination.
I can hear some of you now, asking if the Bible sees procrastination as a sin. Let me assure you that this word is in no concordance. That said, the Scriptures speak of it often as gratifying the desires of our flesh rather than fulfilling the calling we have from the Lord.
Turn over a page in your Bible to Romans 13:11-14. Paul there tells believers to wake up, making no provision – or opportunity/plan – for the desires of the flesh (13:14). In this passage Paul seems to echo the Old Testament Proverbs.
Proverbs 6:6-11 tells us that sleep and slumber allows poverty and want to come against the person like an armed man. Is that not exactly what procrastination does? Once we have put off what needs doing, the pressure of deadlines and unmet needs begins to press upon us. Solomon also speaks to the biblical response towards procrastination. Referring to the ant, Solomon points out how this creature follows a plan to meet future needs by practically laboring today. Thus the ant plans not to procrastinate.
Now you might be asking how to keep yourself from worrying if you have done enough for future needs? I always keep in mind Matthew 6:34. There it says “sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Thus we can only do for tomorrow what we can accomplish today. Back to the ant example. The ant cannot store up everything for winter in one day. He can however put aside some for winter each day. Thus the ant, by God’s design has a plan not to procrastinate.
How about you? If you need to plan not to procrastinate, start making your plan by…
- Deciding upon an honorable goal.
- Then notice the lusts of your own flesh.
- Next, consider activities that will give no provision to the flesh, but progress to the goal.
- Finally plan to accomplish today what will help you reach your goal tomorrow.
If you would like to read more about this topic from a Biblical perspective see Jay E. Adams’ book What to Do on Thursday: Part Four.