The Consequences of Procrastination

by H.E. Phillips

The term “procrastinate” is defined: “to put off doing something until a future time” — “to defer, postpone.” And of course, the word “consequences” simply means that which follows or results from a certain course or action.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, someone has said. One of the easiest things to do is to plan and promise to do what is right and good, but when the time comes to fulfill the plan, something always happens and we do not get it done. Almost everyone intends to do right, straighten up and repent before he dies, but we always want to wait until tomorrow or some future convenient time.

The young people feel they must “sow their wild oats,” because “we live but once.” The middle-aged think they must work and make all the money they can while they are in their productive years, because the time will come when they cannot do so. “We must make hay while the sun shines, you know.” The aged think they must enjoy a few years of retirement and fun before they settle down to seriously practicing religion. The cycle continues with every generation and every segment of our society. But we do not reckon with the fact that there is a judgment to which every one of us must give an account. This judgment is based upon our language (Matt. 12:34), upon our deeds done in the body (2 Cor. 5:10), and upon our works (Rev. 20:12).

The normal and almost natural schemes devised by man to defer his responsible and religious conduct to some future time while he imbibes the pleasures of sin for a season are all totally absurd. Men and women die at all ages, and many of them suddenly. Eventually all of us die (Heb. 9:27). When death overtakes one at any age, his activity on earth ceases, and his intended good is never done. The Lord said, “Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh (Matt. 25:13).

In Luke 12, Jesus spoke a parable stating that a certain rich man increased abundantly from his labors. He planned to pull down his barns and to build greater ones. And having filled these new barns, he would say to himself: “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:19-21).

The man in this parable made a number of fatal mistakes, one of which was to defer or ignore his present duty to God while he made all provisions for his present and future physical needs. The apostle Paul was called before Felix and Drusilla because they wanted to “hear him concerning the faith in Christ.” As the apostle reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix reacted by trembling, no doubt at the realization of the consequences he must pay if he continued to pursue his present course of life. But in this he responded: “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25). Three important facts are to be noted in this verse: Felix listened and understood what Paul said. He understood his course of life was out of harmony with what Paul preached and understood the consequences if he continued, thus he trembled. Finally, he gave the indication that at some “convenient season” he would hear again with a view to changing his life. All evidence indicated that Felix did what most people do today: he procrastinated until it was too late.

The plans to ignore the will of God in one’s course of life, with the built-in plan to someday repent and reform, always results in leaving this life without God.

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