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Procrastinators Meet Tomorrow (LHCOC)

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Procrastinators Meet Tomorrow

Prov.27:1

Introduction:

1.                   Do you ever find yourself putting things off?

2.                   Procrastination is a common problem:

a.                   There is a National Procrastinators Week in March each year.

b.                  There is a National Procrastinator’s Club.

c.                   There is a National Fight Procrastination Day in August.

3.                   USA Today reported the top five things people put off until the last minute:

a.                   House chores/yard work: 47%

b.                  Holiday gift shopping: 43%

c.                   Making doctor/dentist appointments: 35%

d.                  Calling relatives: 31%

e.                   Changing oil in the car: 29% (Leadership, Vol. 19, no. 3)

4.                   For our lesson today we want to discuss the topic of “procrastination.” 

a.                   In the course of the lesson we will answer 3 important questions associated with our topic…

b.                  What is procrastination – Why do we procrastinate – How can we overcome procrastination?

Discussion:

I.                        WHAT IS PROCRASTINATION?

A.                A definition:

1.                  The word itself comes from the Latin word procrastinatus: pro- (forward) and crastinus (of tomorrow).

2.                  The act of postponing, delaying or putting off, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness (Wikitionary).

3.                  Maybe you have seen the t-shirt that says, “Procrastinators meet tomorrow.”

B.                 Consider what some have said about procrastination:

1.                  Someone once said that “Hard work is easy work that has been put off.”

2.                  "Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know that I should stop it. In fact, I will tomorrow"

3.                  “Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill.”

4.                  Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying “Good things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

5.                  Someone once said, “Procrastination is a universal problem. Most of us know what we need to do, we just put it off. The problem with procrastination is that it becomes a way of life, a lifestyle. The more you do it the better you become at it. Some people are professional procrastinators.”

C.                 The Story of Pharaoh and the plague of frogs, is a good biblical example of procrastination (Ex.8:10).

1.                  The Israelites had served the Egyptians as slaves long enough, but someone stood in their way of leaving…that someone was Pharaoh.  He had a hard and proud heart that would have to be broken through a number of plagues.

2.                  The second plague was the plague of frogs.  Frogs were everywhere.  They were in peoples’ houses, ovens, and beds.  Can you imagine a world that was full of frogs?  Can you imagine the noise?  Can you imagine trying to prepare meals?  Can you imagine trying to sleep?

3.                  Pharaoh had had enough!  So he called for Moses, and in essence, Moses asked Pharaoh…when?

                                                                        a.                   You would think the obvious answer would be “right now,” but that was not the case.

                                                                       b.                   Pharaoh’s answer was “tomorrow.”  He was willing to spend one more night with the frogs.

4.                  On the surface, most of us would think that Pharaoh was crazy.  Why would anyone want to endure another night of that horrible plague and the circumstances it brought?

D.                Many of us are no different than Pharaoh.  We have circumstances that we absolutely hate, but we linger in them and delay changes that are necessary.

1.                  Tomorrow, I’ll start working on my drinking problem. Tomorrow I’ll tackle my debt. Tomorrow I’ll start my diet. Tomorrow I’ll quit smoking. Tomorrow I’ll stop NAGGING my husband.

2.                  Tomorrow I’ll start treating my wife better. Tomorrow I’ll get to that school assignment. Tomorrow I’ll go look for that job. Tomorrow I’ll make that phone call. Tomorrow I’ll give my life to God.

II.                        WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE?

A.                We procrastinate because of indecision.

1.                  We can’t make up our minds about what to do.  We spend endless hours calculating the benefits and dangers of both sides of a decision.

2.                  We are so indecisive. It takes most of us 15 minutes to decide what we want to eat at a restaurant.

3.                  While we make up our minds the opportunity passes and we then change our intentions to the future - again.

B.                 We procrastinate because of perfectionism.

1.                  Mike Breaux says, “Some of the greatest procrastinators are closet perfectionists. They figure if I can’t do it with perfection then I just won’t even bother.”

2.                  If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.  “He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap” (Ecc.11:4).

3.                  Many of us are waiting for the perfect opportunity to tackle our problems.

                                                                        a.                   But there are some problems we face that are so urgent we can’t wait for the perfect time.

                                                                       b.                   Can you imagine driving down gunbarrel road and having the mindset, “I am not budging from this spot until all the lights turn green”?  We would never get anywhere.

                                                                        c.                   The perfect time or the perfect way to do a thing may never come; get started anyway.

C.                 We procrastinate because of fear.

1.                  Fear feeds procrastination.

2.                  We love to play the “WHAT IF” game.

                                                                        a.                   What if I try to open up to my mate and she makes fun of me?

                                                                       b.                   What if I try to get out of debt and it doesn’t work?

                                                                        c.                   What if I become a Christian and I mess up again?

                                                                       d.                   What if I become a Christian and my friends reject me?

3.                  Fear forces us to try to predict all the obstacles ahead of us which in turn overwhelms us and makes us too gun-shy to try anything.  Remember, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim.1:7).

D.                We procrastinate because of laziness (Ecc.10:18).

1.                  It takes hard work, time and discipline to change and if we are honest many of us don’t want to put forth the effort to change.

                                                                        a.                   If we want to improve our marriage, we know it will take work, maybe going to a counselor and talking through some tough issues.

                                                                       b.                   If we want to conquer debt, we know it is going to take thought and planning and monthly evaluations.

                                                                        c.                   If we want to become more spiritual, we know it is going to take time to come to worship and to pray and to read scripture.

2.                  Life is not easy, there are not too many free rides that come our way, we will have to work if we are to be productive in any area of life.

III.                        HOW CAN WE OVERCOME PROCRASTINATION?

A.                Start by praying about it.

B.                 Develop a sense of urgency (Jn.9:4).

1.                  It is also amazing how so many of us can be so unconcerned about our problems.

2.                  We must develop a sense of urgency about the important stuff in life before it is too late.

                                                                        a.                   There is a story of a farm boy who accidentally overturned his wagonload of Corn in the road. The farmer who lived nearby came to investigate.

                                                                       b.                   "Hey, Willis," he called out, "forget your troubles for a spell and come on in and have dinner with us. Then I’ll help you get the wagon up."

                                                                        c.                   "That’s mighty nice of you," Willis answered, "But I don’t think Pa would like me to." "Aw, come on, son!" the farmer insisted. "Well, okay," the boy finally agreed. "But Pa won’t like it." After a hearty dinner, Willis thanked his host. \"I feel a lot better now, but I just know Pa is going to be real upset." "Don’t be foolish!" exclaimed the neighbor. "By the way, where is he?" "Under the wagon."

3.                  If we don’t do something today about our problems they will eventually get worse.

C.                 Stop making excuses.

1.                  Benjamin Franklin said, “People who are good at making excuses are rarely good at anything else.”

2.                  We’ve heard and maybe even made the excuses before. It is time to quit making excuses, take responsibility and start getting things done.

3.                  Proverbs 26:13 – The lazy man says, "There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!" (Making excuses not to go outside).

D.                Learn to take advantage of today.

1.                  Stop thinking that tomorrow will be better.

                                                                        a.                   “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov.27:1).

                                                                       b.                   “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Mt.6:34).

2.                  Some say, “I’ve got all the time in the world to change.” But we are not guaranteed tomorrow (Jas.4:13-14).

Conclusion:

1.                   3 demons were graduating from their training in Hell University and they were taking their Final Exams. Satan asked each one of them, “What are you going to do to deceive people?”

a.                   1st Demon: “I’m going to tell people there isn’t a God.” Satan said, “You’re not going to convince people of that.”

b.                  2nd Demon: “I’m going to tell people there is no heaven, there is no hell, this is all there is!” Satan said, “You won’t have much luck with that everyone can sense there is more than just this life.”

c.                   3rd Demon: “Satan, I’m going to tell people there is no hurry…Yes, there is a God, but you can make that decision some other time.” Satan said, “Congratulations, you have the winning strategy that is going to deceive millions of people!”

2.                   “Behold, NOW is the accepted time ; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor.6:2).

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