The Thief of Time
“… he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame” (Prov. 10:5).
- Proverbs 10:5; 20:4; 24:30–34
A common hindrance to the improved use of time is procrastination. How often have you put off until tomorrow work that should be done today? Probably too many times than you care to admit. Solomon called those who refuse to sow in season sluggards. Procrastination is a form of slothfulness, a sin that is offensive to God. Someone once said that procrastination is “the thief of time.” How true! When you put off a work until tomorrow, you are replacing usefulness and duty with slothfulness and ease. Commenting on this subject to young people, Archibald Alexander wrote, “Remember that every day and every hour has its own appropriate work; but if that which should be done this day is deferred until a future time, to say the least, there must be an inconvenient accumulation of duties in the future. But as tomorrow is to everybody uncertain, to suspend the acquisition of an important object on such a contingency, may be the occasion of losing for ever the opportunity of receiving it. The rule of sound discretion is never to put off till tomorrow what ought to be done today.”
The procrastinator makes the unwise assumption that tomorrow will surely arrive. No person can make such an assumption. While it is not wrong to plan for the future, this is not the same as putting off what should be done today until tomorrow. Solomon said, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1). Procrastination is not only a wrong use of time in the present, it is an unwise assumption about the future. Bridges wrote, “Tomorrow presumed upon, today neglected, ruins all.”
Some may object saying they only put off until tomorrow those things that are not absolutely necessary for today. But, as Alexander said above, this is unwise because you accumulate more duties for the future. How many times have you found yourself overwhelmed with work that needed to be done because you put it off until the last minute? The result is often work that is done poorly or not at all. This is why Proverbs says the sluggard who does not sow in season does not reap at the harvest. Because he was not faithful and diligent in his duties, he must reap the consequences of loss of reputation, poverty, and shame.
If you are guilty of procrastination, confess it to the Lord. Before the day begins, consider what you need to accomplish that day and commit to doing those things in an orderly time frame. This also applies to spiritual matters. Do not delay confession, prayer, or service to God. Serve Him now, for tomorrow may not come.
Passages for Further Study
- 2 Chronicles 24:1–16
- Matthew 8:18–22
- Luke 9:62
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