To overcome procrastination you will need to analyze what you’re doing wrong with your time, and you will need to make a list of priorities. But ultimately, you must always remember that you are a steward of time, not its owner. When you begin to see that you are a steward of time, you will treat it differently. Remember, it is God’s will we are after, not our own. This is why the apostle warns “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Note the second phrase in our time passage: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time.”.
The Bible speaks a lot about wisdom, and Psalm 90:12 reveals an important step in attaining it: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” The ESV Study Bible comments:
This refers especially to the ability to make the most of one’s days, since they are so few. The heart of wisdom would enable the faithful to live by the right priorities.
The procrastinator doesn’t number his days, he presumes upon them. He isn’t counting down the time, he assumes he has more of it. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross once said,
It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
This is why the wise person in Psalm 90 is likened to a meticulous accountant. He sees time as a limited resource and will be selective in his investment of his time.
A practical way to “number your days” is to list out your roles of responsibility. These roles require different times and commitments. As an example, these are some of the responsibilities that God has entrusted to me:
- I am a Christian
- I am a husband
- I am a father
- I am an employee (a pastor)
- I am a student
- I am a mentor
These roles are relational; they involve my interaction with others in real time. If you are lazy, you will let others determine the use of your time based upon their perceived needs. When you let others define your roles, you will move from the important and into the realm of the urgent. For instance, the culture (or your church) will tell you what you should do as a Christian. Your boss will tell you what you should do as an employee (which usually means more work with less help). Your spouse will attempt to hold you to their expectations of your weekend, and your kids will make demands on your time morning, noon, and night.
Pop culture counters that with all those demands by others, you need to spend more time on yourself. But this position forgets the truth that time was never yours or theirs. It was a gift from God and should have been used accordingly. This is why simply listing your responsibilities is not sufficient to overcome procrastination. You need to clarify how you are to spend your time in those roles. I have found the Scriptures to be a tremendous help when it comes to defining our roles and responsibilities. Occasionally, you just have to make up a word to get your point across. Biblicize is that kind of word. I analyze, I prioritize, and then I biblicize. If I am really serious about doing the will of God, then I will need to get serious about understanding the Word of God. If I don’t let the Scriptures inform my specific responsibilities, I will give my time to what others want, and I will revert to procrastinating on the important things that God has called me to do. Notice how even just a handful of Biblical passages help clarify these roles:
- As a Christian I am to love God and love the people around me (Mat. 22:36-40)
- As a husband, I am to love my wife sacrificially (Eph. 5:25) and live with her in an understanding way (1 Pet. 3:7).
- As a father, I am to instruct my kids in their relationship with the Lord (Deut. 6:4-7), discipline them as necessary (Eph. 6:4), and avoid provoking them to anger (Eph. 6:4).
- As an employee (pastor), I am to spend time in the Word, in prayer (Acts 6:4; 2 Tim. 4:1-5) and in community with those in our church (1 Cor. 12:14-20).
- As a student, I am to discover and apply God’s truths to my life (Ezra 7:10; Jam. 1:22).
- As a mentor, I am to seek out, instruct, and encourage the next generation (1 Tim. 4:13-16; 2 Tim. 2:2).
You are a steward of time, not the owner. As a steward, you first check with the master to see how he wants you to spend your time. This is why we biblicize our roles and responsibilities.