Don't Put It Off!

Breaking procrastination.

Vice-President, General Conference

Procrastination is a thieving habit that deprives us of time, success, and happiness. We procrastinate when we needlessly put off things that should be done today.

And who is not tempted to de­fer? We find ourselves saying, "Tomorrow I'll study the Sabbath school lesson, prepare my sermon, give that Bible study, write that letter, visit the sick neighbor, call on that discouraged member" but all that tomorrow brings forth is a mountain of things unaccomplished.

Inspiration, planning, and decision are important, but their value diminishes un­less followed up by decisive action. Do you want a branch Sabbath school? An active 'ATV Society? A new church school? A newly painted church building? A success­ful Bible course enrollment campaign? A new church organization? Really, do you?

By all means plan, but do not bog down and neglect starting the job. Don't blow the whistle too long and find yourself without steam to turn the wheels. There is no better way to get things done than to start them. The first step in a mile race is as important as the last. Get going. Keep going!

Procrastination is often induced because the immediate task is unpleasant, difficult, or distasteful. Facing us today could be a menial chore, a demanding study assign­ment, an assigned church responsibility, a Christian duty to dissolve a misunderstand­ing or go the second mile, or the convic­tion that we must break with a sinful habit.

None of these things is easy. All require time, discipline, and just plain hard work. Accordingly, to ease our conscience we putter around with trivialities, daydreaming and wishing that the hard task would just go away.

Life assigns to each a quota of difficult tasks and they just don't fade away by being ignored. Any­thing worthwhile — friendship, marriage, career, job, salvation, church membership—has its dif­ficult aspects. Each blessing costs much in personal effort. Eventually we have to stop babying ourselves, roll up our sleeves, and tackle the task.

Dreading or postponing a hard job is often more wearing than doing it, and the anticipated unpleasantness has a way of adversely affecting other duties and asso­ciates. Procrastination is a prolific cause of emotional and organizational ills in the home, school, and church.

A Christian is duty bound not merely to do the things he should, but to do them when he should, whether he likes to or not. Principle and not impulse is his guide. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy make plain his duty and the manner in which it should be discharged. He does not defer carrying today's burden since shirking means a heavier load for someone else. For him, the following through to completion in any task is a matter of morality, charac­ter, and honor.

In the development of spiritual life, pro­crastination is fatal. We read: "Beware of procrastination. Do not put off the work of forsaking your sins, and seeking purity of heart through Jesus. Here is where thou­sands upon thousands have erred, to their eternal loss. . . . What we do not overcome, will overcome us, and work out our de­struction."—Steps to Christ, pp. 32, 33.

"Yesterday is gone, today is here, tomor­row may never come."

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Vice-President, General Conference

May 1964

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