It’s those dreaded things like income taxes, or spring cleaning. I have a problem with cleaning my office – I’m sitting in the midst of the squalor even as I write this. I prioritize it for tomorrow.
When tomorrow comes I re-prioritize it for the next day, and on it goes. So in essence I am prioritizing and re-prioritizing what is nothing more than my procrastination. The only thing that ultimately breaks the absurd cycle is facing a definite time constraint, or something happens that all of a sudden makes whatever is being put off, a top priority. Just do it!
Sometimes it takes an eye-opening experience to motivate us to action. For instance, I’ve heard many accounts of people who’ve had near-death experiences that gave them a whole new perspective on life. They learn the value of time; that it is not a commodity to be squandered. After getting through a couple of major earthquakes here in California – one of which was the Whittier quake of 1987 while I was at work on the 47th floor of a downtown tower; the other was the Northridge quake of 1994 where I thought the whole three-story apartment building was going to collapse and bury me in my first-floor unit. That was nearly 20 years ago and I still maintain a keener sense of getting things done NOW! It prompts others to say “What’s your hurry…why does everything have to be NOW with you?” My simple reply is, “Because tomorrow is not promised,” or the challenge “And why do you keep putting things off?”
I laugh when I read about Jonah who disobeyed God after he had instructed him to go and warn the city of Nineveh. After Jonah was delivered from the belly of the great fish, his priorities were in order. What normally would have taken a three-day journey to Nineveh, he did it in one. “Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey…And Jonah began to enter the city in a days’ journey…” [Jonah 3:3, 4 – KJV] You think maybe Jonah was in a hurry?
The prophet Elijah – knowing that a great rain (perhaps akin to a typhoon) was about to take place – sent a warning to King Ahab to get into his chariot and flee to the city. “And King Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” [1Kings 18:45, 46 – KJV] Apparently Elijah outran the chariot! He was purpose-driven and highly motivated to make haste!
Pressure can cause us to do things we never thought we could. Sometimes God will allow us to go through certain trials (or tests) to bring out the best in us, and prove to us and to others just what we’re made of. Sometimes it can be a crushing blow like losing a job or even a loved one, but olives have to be crushed to get the oil, and grapes have to be crushed to get the juice. In this world we will have trouble, but having the faith and trusting in God makes the difference. Life’s journey is filled with surprises and things we cannot control, but for the things we can control we should not put off but do them with commitment and diligence while there is still time. We can be busy doing many things, but for the things that really matter, we should prioritize and re-prioritize if necessary. There’s no time to waste so let’s make haste. Is there something that keeps gnawing at you to get done but you just can’t seem to get around to doing? Don’t procrastinate…do it NOW for tomorrow might be too late!
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Amazon.com). www.larrybuford.com (213) 220-8101