Do you put off until tomorrow what can, and should, be done today? Do you find yourself dragging your feet whenever there is something you know you need to do that you just don’t want to do? Do you procrastinate? If so, you’re not alone. Everyone has things that they don’t like to do. Perhaps it’s cleaning the bathroom … or the garage … or the junk drawer. Whatever it may be, “tomorrow” seems to always be better. Unfortunately, “tomorrow” can drag on and on and on … until what once may have been a manageable task becomes harder than it originally needed to be. Then, hopefully, we learn our lesson, grit our teeth, get the job done, and resolve to keep up with it so it doesn’t have to be so hard the next time around. Usually, procrastination, if we’re honest, can be overcome. Usually, it just takes a change in our mindset. We can just choose to think differently. We can choose to see something from a different perspective. We can look at it from a different angle. What may have previously seemed like a chore (something undesirable) can turn into a learning experience. Then, once we’ve gained that knowledge, the same task can actually become something we now desire to do. (For example, have you ever thought of cleaning the bathroom as a good cardiovascular workout? Not only does the bathroom get cleaned, but you get in shape in the process!) It’s the same with spiritual matters. Maybe you’ve been procrastinating when it comes to your relationship with God. Maybe you have known for quite some time that you needed to “get right” with Him. Maybe you’ve known in your heart it really was time you got serious about accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation and making a commitment to living your life in a way that the Bible says is pleasing to Him. But maybe you’ve been procrastinating. Maybe you’ve been putting it off, thinking it was a “chore” that you didn’t really want to deal with right now so you’ve kept telling yourself, “tomorrow” I’ll do it … then “tomorrow” never comes. Well, if that’s the case, let me encourage you to rethink your perspective on what it means to accept Jesus’ gift of salvation and live for Him. Perhaps you have the mindset that it’s all about a bunch of rules and regulations that you can never measure up to. Some people really believe that’s true … however, in reality, according to the Bible, there could be nothing further from the truth. The truth is, accepting the gift of salvation Jesus offers is just that … accepting a GIFT. A free gift that you don’t have to earn, you don’t have to work for, you don’t have to deserve. It’s all about receiving what Jesus has already done for you … on your behalf … when He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. You don’t have to “do” anything other than receive it by faith. Then, out of gratitude, you can make the choice to live in a way that’s pleasing to Him (with the help of the Holy Spirit that you also receive when you receive the gift of salvation). So, the timeless truth for today is that none of us should procrastinate when it comes to receiving all that God wants us to have. Salvation, freedom from the controlling power of sin, love, joy, peace, an ever-present help in times of trouble, someone who understands you completely, the hope of heaven … all this and more can be yours once you make a decision to receive Jesus’ gift of salvation. In fact, Hebrews 3:15 (NIV) tells us, “… today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …” So, don’t procrastinate! Today is the day of salvation! Receive Jesus’ gift today!
Life happens. In all of it’s craziness … in all of its ups and downs … life happens. Because of this, many people know it’s wise to be prepared. Whether it’s packing extra diapers and clothes in the diaper bag before leaving the house to go on a trip, getting gas for a snowblower before a predicted major snowstorm, stocking up on toilet paper when there’s word it may be in short supply, or making sure your first aid kit is ready to go in case of a medical emergency, wisdom tells us we need to do these things so we will be prepared … whatever may come our way. What some people may not have thought of, however, is the importance of being prepared in a less obvious, less visible, less tangible way … being prepared to give an answer for the hope they have found in a relationship with Christ.
1 Peter 3:15, 16 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience…” (NIV) The truth is, we always need to be ready … we always need to be prepared … in every season of our lives. As we go about “life” we will undoubtedly find ourselves in situations we didn’t plan … situations that are actually opportunities given to us to see what we will do with them. Will we be ready to share our hope with others? Will we be willing to do so? Will we be willing to be honest and transparent so that we can relate to others on whatever level they are currently at? Will we make the most of every opportunity, knowing in our hearts that we may only get “one shot” at speaking God’s love, truth, and encouragement into someone else’s life? If we want to share with others we first need to make sure we’re prepared. How do I do that? you may ask. Well, how do you prepare for other things? You anticipate what may be needed and you use wisdom to gather those things together so you’ll have them on hand when the predicted need arises. In the same way, if you anticipate coming into contact with someone who may be hurting and who may need a word of encouragement, a good way to prepare for that anticipated need would be to “fill yourself up” with encouragement in your own heart. Whether it be reading the Bible, listening to praise and worship music, listening to a sermon, praying and getting into God’s presence as you seek Him with all your heart, or any number of other things that may help you, personally, to get “filled up” yourself, in so doing you’ll have what is needed when the opportunity comes to let yourself be “squeezed out” and share what’s already in your heart. So, the next time you find yourself in the grocery store, the hardware store, or any other place we’re “allowed” to go nowadays (with social distancing of course), make sure you’re prepared. It may take a little ingenuity to speak to someone from 6 feet away, but it can be done. If God opens the door of opportunity for you to share the hope He’s given you, being prepared ahead of time ensures you’ll be able to make the most of that opportunity. Remember, you may only get that one shot to make an eternal impact on another person’s soul … so be ready.