Your Procrastination is Sin

For years I was a serious procrastinator. In fact, I think I could have gone pro (if that sort of thing paid). So I did what a lot of college students do, putting off assignments until the last minute. But I would justify myself by calling it "time management" and pointing to a solid grade. Of course this was not limited to writing papers in college. It was something that was true of my life in general. On a few occasions and in a couple different contexts I was called out on my procrastination, but I dismissed them all. I found no one convincing until my friend Jonathan Edwards stepped up. One day I wound up reading his treatise, Procrastination, or, The Sin and Folly of Depending on Future Time, and it wrecked me in the best of ways. Why is procrastination wrong? Edwards argues that procrastination presumes upon the grace of God, assuming that he has given us future time when in fact our time may be short. We do not know whether or not we have tomorrow, so we must wisely improve upon the time God does give us.

This requires us to, one the one hand, not depend on future time, while on the other hand not conclude that we do not have tomorrow. "We have good reason not to depend on another day, but we have no reason to conclude, that we shall not live another day." He says,

...we should live every day as conscientiously and as holily as if we knew it were our last. We should be careful every day to avoid all sin, as if we knew that that night our soul should be required of us. We should be careful to do every duty which God requires of us...

But in many other respects, we are not obliged to behave ourselves as though we concluded that we should not live another day. If we had reason to conclude that we should not live another day, some things would not be our duty which are now our duty.

Procrastination is an ugly sin that leads us away from engaging and enjoying the gifts and responsibilities God gives us. It tells us we can play with our kids another time, take our wife out on a date next month, or finish that project some time down the road because God owes us a future. It is a way of avoiding the things God has called us to do today.

The answer is not to simply "stop procrastinating," but to live with a sense that today could be our last, but also with the understanding that we need to prepare for tomorrow should God give it to us. This means we wont waste time in sin and folly, nor forsake important work and balanced planning. This means we will savor and rejoice in the day the Lord has made. It means we will do what God gives us to do because in it we glorify and enjoy him while being faithful to our calling.