Tomorrow Never Comes

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Tomorrow Never Comes

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We humans possess a great propensity for putting things off. Somehow we seem to be oblivious to the stress we put upon ourselves and to the weakness of character that procrastination reveals. I'll be quick to state we can truly be swamped with tasks demanding our attention. Wisdom dictates we prioritize our tasks. But many are so disorganized that the time needed for a task is greatly elongated. Some take extended "coffee breaks" in another form of being slow off the mark.

Procrastination, or putting things off, puts us into a bind. We disappoint others and cause unnecessary turmoil. Our second great flaw then yawns its cavernous mouth--we find excuses. We'll make them up, we'll exaggerate and even lie a little, rather than accept the fault and blame and then go and do the right thing. It is agonizing to break a habit that we've grown accustomed to--and so we decide to "start tomorrow." As people have found out for generations--tomorrow never comes.

Successful people know the value of the saying "never put off for tomorrow that which you can do today." I know many who scrape by, defying that saying and I have seen them struggle to finish projects that would have been done more readily and efficiently had they started on them right away. When I was a university student, I noticed about 80 percent of the students waited until the last day (or night) to complete an assignment due. "Cramming" for exams is common, and the worries inherent to it bring enormous stress on students. This syndrome can continue into adult life and into careers. Tasks that should be done and matters that cry for attention litter the path of one who has not learned how to work. Capable people can manage for a time, but the stress on themselves and their family is great. Eventually it will catch up with them.

Putting God first

Luke 12:16-21 carries a strong piece of advice for us all. It is the story of the man who worked hard and was successful, but who had his priorities wrong. He did not pay attention to the most important questions... "What is life all about? Why have I been born? What is my destiny?" (Our free booklet What Is Your Destiny? will guide you to the answers). God says the man was a fool because he was not rich towards God. He did not plan for eternal life. He put plans off until another day.

I always wondered why scientists, who strive to understand the laws governing physical things and who have discovered that a brilliant mind must be behind all that we see, are not 100 percent concerned about the most obvious question. If God does exist, what does He require of me? It is amazing when mankind's greatest minds have been able to simply avoid the obvious conclusions and thus the most vital questions.

Plan for tomorrow

We are to plan for tomorrow. The Bible contains many scriptures alluding to this fact. First and foremost, though, we need to be sure we have a constant relationship with God. This one item is one we must not put off until tomorrow. Ecclesiastes 12:1 gives words of wisdom by telling the young to remember God before difficult times come. A "death-bed" repentance just will not do, states Ecclesiastes 12:6. We are advised to live joyfully and to do whatever lies before us with all of our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10), but always remember life does come to a close. Proverbs 27:1 cautions us not to boast about tomorrow, because we are never sure what tomorrow will bring. I remember our bedtime prayers as children always included "if I should die before I wake"--a good thought for guiding our actions and priorities.

Matthew 25:1-13 records Jesus' parable of the ten virgins. Five were foolish and put off the right preparations. When the time came, they were unprepared and thus lost a great deal. This lesson is written for our admonition. In the story, one can see the five foolish virgins frantically trying to correct their error--they were under stress. The five who had prepared were full of joy and pleasant anticipation. The Bible does tell us that Christ will return suddenly (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). The clear message is to be ready at all times.

Samuel Johnson wrote, "To improve the golden moment of opportunity and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life." And A. Dunning wrote: "Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them, is simple fidelity to what each day brings." Francis Bacon wrote: "A man must make his opportunity as oft as find it." Within these and many wise words like them, we can see the common thread of being prepared. None can grasp an opportunity if they are not prepared for what comes. Even the recognition of an opportunity requires an understanding of what constitutes something desirable and some prior knowledge of how to go about obtaining that goal.

Setting priorities

When Jesus said to "seek first the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33), He gave the first and foremost goal for all mankind. The search and goal includes the obligations we have to family, friends, careers and ourselves. It is one package. Some have made the mistake of thinking they can be hermits and only look out for themselves. I spoke to a man recently who said, "as long as I make it into heaven, that is all I care about." We talked a little and I was able to explain to him that with that attitude he would not make it at all. (Not that heaven is the right goal, as our free booklet Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach? explains.) We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Loving our fellow man means wanting all men to be saved - to have eternal life. That is why Jesus Christ's blood was given (John 3:16), and that is the aim and purpose God has ever before Him (1 Timothy 2:4). He agreed!

In our busy lives, we always seem to have too much to do. Sometimes people struggle so hard to complete everything that they break down mentally. We call it a nervous breakdown, and it is the mind and body telling us that we are far beyond overload. Wisdom should tell us to back off from overloading ourselves. The priorities should be God first, followed by family, career or work, involvement in church and with friends, and personal goals like hobbies, etc. How do we define enough? What is enough prayer? What is "quality time"? How do we balance our career with loving our mates? No one method suits everyone, but do yourself a favor and take the time to stand back and evaluate yourself before your health or other problems force you into an evaluation. Itemize your tasks and prioritize them. Not only will you find success, but you will also find peace of mind. Don't put it off until tomorrow--do it today.