Do you know what the world’s greatest labor-saving device is? Tomorrow! That’s right; tomorrow. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow, right?
But this is not for you!
The sluggard says, “There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!” (Proverbs 22:13 NLT)
Notice that it is not the fearful who cry, “There is a lion out there,” but rather the lazy. Why? Because they’re lazy! The sluggard creates all sorts of reasons in his mind for his inactivity and living a life of ease in Zion. Rebellion always finds its reasons, and what better reason for being lazy than a lion?
You see, deep down the sluggard knows that his laziness is a bad thing and that he will receive no sympathy—and certainly no reward—for his procrastination. But who could fault someone who postponed his work because there is a lion on the loose looking for someone to devour?
The lion creeps tonight
OK, perhaps you never actually talked about lions, but have you been making any excuses for not doing what you know you ought to be doing at home, at work or for your church family? Scripture is piercingly painful in its description of our procrastination: “As a door swings back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed” (Proverbs 26:14 NLT). There will always be a lion for the lazy to rationalize laziness. We all have a tendency to put off what we ought to do in order to do what we would rather do.
So how do we overcome this tendency? We stay focused on the Lord, rather than the lions.
Think about this truth for a moment: Jesus was born to die. He came into this world to pay the price for your sins and mine with His precious blood. When our Savior said, “There is a lion,” there really was one—Satan, the roaring lion who would stop at nothing to disrupt and destroy our Lord’s perfect purpose. Yet even though Jesus knew that pressing on meant that He would die the most horrible of all deaths, He rejected the way of the sluggard. “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51 NLT) and kept pressing on in His amazing redemptive work of love and grace.
This is what the Bible means when it says we are to keep God’s mercy in view. God’s mercy is both the motive and motivation to put aside procrastination and set our hearts to do what we have been called by God to do.
Procrastination is simply not an option for the people of God, if for no other reason than that it boasts in what it will accomplish tomorrow. But Scripture warns us clearly: “Don’t brag about tomorrow since you don’t know what the day will bring” (Proverbs 27:1 NLT).
As I have said many times before, the past is gone, the future is promised to no one; all we have is the now and that is why it is called “the present” because that is exactly what it is: a gift from God!
Remember, even if there truly was a lion outside, it should not keep us from doing what God has called us to do. As disciples of Christ, we are to be devoted to Christ. That devotion may lead us down lonely paths of pain and persecution, but what better road to travel than the one that our Savior travelled before us—the road that makes us more like Him.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that. Amen.