Well, I can honestly announce that I have finally gotten around to it. Or to be more accurate, I’ve gotten a round TUIT. A while back someone sent me a round wooden disc in which are burned the letters, ‘TUIT.’
On the back of the “coin” it says, “This is a Round TUIT. Guard it with your life. It could help you be more efficient. For years you’ve heard, ‘I’ll do it as soon as I get a Round Tuit.’ Now that you have your own, you can accomplish all those things you put aside until you got this Round TUIT.” I guess if that’s all it takes, I’ve got it made now.
Unfortunately, for many of us it requires a lot more than a silly wooden coin to motivate or inspire us to pursue those tasks we’ve been avoiding for weeks, or months, or even years.
Some of us have even been considering joining the National Procrastination Society – we just haven’t gotten…around to it.
Lots of people delay necessary and important projects with great skill. One wag put it this way: “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” Maybe it was a dyslexic person reading Benjamin Franklin’s more challenging quote, “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” The question is, why do so many of us become pro at ‘crastinating’?
I can only speak for myself, but my reasons include:
- I understand how much time and energy it will require to complete the job.
- I’m afraid of failing. If I don’t start, maybe I can avoid the pain of being unable to finish.
- If I don’t start, I can try convincing myself that if I did get started, I’d succeed.
- The tyranny of the urgent – succumbing to pesky distractions – crowds out the truly important.
There are probably other reasons I could think of – and if you’re a fellow procrastinator, you might have several of your own. But the truth is, until we start, failure is guaranteed.
As we might expect, the Bible has a lot to say about our inclination to never get around to it. One of the most prominent concerns good intentions for helping others if we don’t follow through: “Do not withhold good from the deserving when it is within your power to act. Do not tell your neighbor, ‘Come back tomorrow and I will provide’ – when you already have the means” (Proverbs 3:27-28).
The Scriptures equate procrastination with laziness. For instance, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4). “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment” (Proverbs 12:11). Wishing and hoping for money are not nearly as effective as actually putting in the time and effort to earn what we need.
An abundant future is often the result of an ambitious present. Remember Aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and the ant, when the grasshopper, starving because it was too lazy to put aside food, begs an enterprising ant for food in the dead of winter? The Bible presents a similar metaphor, minus the grasshopper:
“Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).
But the Scriptures also look at other perspectives that can fuel our procrastinating ways. In an age that seems to glorify instant-gratification, the Word of God encourages us to choose hard work and determination instead: “…we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
The context of this passage speaks primarily to the importance of persevering in our faith despite adversity and opposition, but it also offers a key principle for finally tackling those tasks we’ve been so zealously avoiding: persevering with an eye toward achieving our goals.
We could consider a number of other scriptural teachings, but one I need to remind myself, especially when I know it’s something God is calling me to pursue, is the promise that if He directs us to do a project or take on a responsibility, He’ll also enable us to carry it through. As Philippians 4:13 declares, “I can do everything through [Christ] who gives me strength.”
Here the apostle Paul was writing specifically about finding contentment regardless of his circumstances, but he also understood that the ministry the Lord had called him to would have been impossible without His empowerment. After all, Jesus had admonished his disciples, “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
What is it you’ve been putting off – or avoiding – with such diligence? When do you expect to get around to it? Maybe like me you need a Round TUIT. If you’re nice, maybe I’ll let you borrow mine.
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is email@example.com.