Is It Time?
Text: Haggai 1:2-11
While cleaning out his desk, a man found a shoe-repair ticket that was ten years old. Figuring that he had nothing to lose, he went to the shop and gave the ticket to the repairman, who began to search the back room for the unclaimed shoes. After several minutes, he reappeared and gave the ticket back to the man. “What’s wrong?” asked the man. “Couldn’t you find my shoes?” “Oh, I found them,” replied the repairman, “they’ll be ready next Friday.” – Michael Green
I. Procrastination is not the result of a lack of time to complete a task. It is an attitude and must be dealt as such.
A. Most of us procrastinate from time to time.
1. Procrastination is not only undesirable, but it can have eternal consequences.
2. As with most topics, the Bible can instruct us in this topic.
B. Haggai 1:4
1. The Jews had allowed the temple to lie waste, delaying the work to rebuild it, while they spent the time on their own homes.
2. Once the Jewish people had a different attitude – II Samuel 7:2
3. These people had put off rebuilding the temple for over 15 years.
4. God sent Haggai to stir up the people and break them from the grip of procrastination.
C. Unfortunately, the problem remains. Who doesn’t have a problem with procrastination?
II. Procrastination is strongly rooted
A. An ancient proverb states, “It is not the size of the tree, but the depth of its roots that make it strong.” Procrastination’s roots are very deep.
B. People who are disorganized tend to procrastinate
1. Poor distinction is made between urgency and priority
a. The tendency is to do the easy things first
b. This creates a backlog of harder things which sooner or later become urgent.
c. The one who delayed following Jesus - Matthew 8:21-22
2. Then there are those who are easily distracted.
a. Something else has come up and before you know it, things needing to be done are left only half completed.
3. Another factor is forgetfulness
a. If you ask, the answer is “Of course I remember, I was just about to do it.”
b. We all forget at times, but for too many it becomes a convenient crutch.
4. Finally, there is the problem of lumping everything together – that all tasks come as an inseparable whole.
a. When kids are told to clean their rooms, they will whine, moan, and drag their feet.
b. They see the task as one monstrous whole that never will be completed.
C. For other people, the motivation to put things off is fear
1. Sometimes it a fear of making the wrong choice.
a. “Oh, I don’t know why. I know I should do it, so why can’t I just do it?”
b. The person is locked in an ever fluctuating orbit of indecision.
c. Lot’s delay in leaving Sodom - Genesis 19:16
2. Sometimes it is lack of discipline
a. “I planned to do it, but when the time came, I just didn’t feel like it.”
b. It is a dislike or even fear of being uncomfortable.
c. Discipline is doing things even when you don’t want to or like to.
d. Felix’s delay - Acts 24:25
D. Still another reason is perfectionism
1. You have to do things because others can’t get it right.
a. So you taken on more than a reasonable person can handle in the given amount of time.
2. You insist on not starting on something if you don’t believe you can do it well.
3. You don’t want to start something unless you are certain you can finish it.
E. Then there is the lack of belief in what you need to do.
1. If you don’t believe in something, it is easy to put it off
2. Those who did not believe in the resurrection - Acts 17:32
III. Procrastination keeps many people from doing the things they ought to do.
A. Rom 13:11-14 - It is high time to wake up and get moving.
B. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?”
1. Haggai 2:4-5 - The leaders of Judah had done nothing, in part because of fear.
2. If we are to overcome, we need to recognize what it is that we fear. Only then can we deal with the fear.
C. Get organized
1. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated. When I get bogged down, I’ll make a to-do list to check off.
2. I won’t get everything off, but I can see the progress.
3. Break large things up into manageable chunks.
a. Perhaps today you can put all the toys back.
b. Tomorrow you can straighten out the bookshelf
c. This leaves you time to do small, but important things (like homework)
d. It also makes things less frightening
D. Whatever we do, it is to be with our strength - Col 3:23
IV. You see one decision some of you have put off is that of serving God
A. Oh, there are many reasons, but they all lead to procrastination
1. Some people don’t want to face the displeasure of family (fear)
2. Some won’t do anything until they are convinced they can do it perfectly (perfectionism)
3. Some feel there is plenty of time to decide later, but there are more urgent things that need to be done now (disorganized priorities)
4. Some are overwhelmed by all that is required. It is too big of change right now (lumping)
5. Some know what they need to do and they start, but other matters get in the way (disorganized distractions)
B. Sometimes the best cure is to just do it. You know what is required of you. You have delayed too long. Own up to the fact and just do what you need to do right now.