Procrastination could have been my middle name. If there is something I don't want to do I will dawdle around, coming up with thousands of excuses, waiting until the last possible moment to do it.
I think my logic goes something along the lines of Murphy's law, that however much time you have to do something, that's how long it will takeâso leaving less time for a task will ultimately mean getting it done quicker!
This is not something I would recommend, as it inevitably leads to late nights racing to finish some task that really deserved more attention. Homework is a great exampleâI remember some nights staying up till 4am battling to finish assignments that I'd underestimated the time involved.
A hundred and one excuses
But more than late nights and lack of sleep, procrastination has also hurt my spiritual life. When I actually read my Bible I often find myself thinking how awesome it isâI love the stories, the messages, and I love the way it makes me feel clean and refreshed.
Frankly, after reading the Bible I feel like a better man. But the funny thing is, when I'm not reading my Bible, I seem to put it off with a hundred and one excuses.
Prayer is the same story. I clearly see the value of prayer and wish I spent more time praying. But that's just itâI 'wish' I spent more time in prayer, but not right now. Right now I'm too tired. I'm hungry. I have jobs to do. I want to see the latest episode of the show I'm watching. I want to check my Facebook and see what everyone else is up to.
Too busy to pray?
When I look at the life of Jesus it is easy to see that He valued prayer. You will often read of Him taking time off to go and pray.
One particularly memorable example is recorded in the first chapter of Mark where we have a whole town gathered at Jesus' door after sundown. Jesus ministers to this vast crowd well into the night, performing miracles, healing the sick and casting out demons. And then we read this:
'In the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed' (Mark chapter 1, verse 35).
Woah! Jesus had people clambering around Him all nightâvying for a spot to see the miracles, pushing through to be touched themselves, struggling against the throngs hoping for a glimpse of the blessed teacher. Suffice to say He would have been very tired!
If it was me, by the time I got to bed that night I would have thought I had done God's work and had some well-earned shut-eye coming my way. Yet that morning Jesus is up before dawn to go off and pray! Right there the message is driven emphatically home: Jesus valued prayer!
Usually my excuses are being too tired or having some carnal matter to attend to. I've never had the excuse of staying up late with a crowd of people performing signs and wonders, and casting out demons. But even that excuse wouldn't hold water, because Jesus did that and still made time for prayer.
To Jesus, communion with the Father was something He desired and cherished so much that He would rather be tired than miss out on a precious time of prayer.
There is always something coming around the corner to hold my attention, to give me an extra excuse to put off yet again what I know I should be doing. When will I wake up and see that no excuse is going to justify skipping out on what Jesus demonstrated to do? 'Imitate Christ', the Bible tells me. 'Certainly', I respond, 'right after this...'
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from wake-boarding to curling up with a good book on a rainy day.
Thomas Devenish's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html