February 20, 2008

Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow... 
by Meghan Kleppinger, Editor, Christianity.com

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
Psalms 34:8

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:8

I started spring cleaning early this year… or, at least, it felt like spring cleaning. Having moved into my new home just a few months ago, I started the bad habit of stuffing my many closets full with the items I wasn’t ready to organize so I could work instead on the more enjoyable task of decorating.

This past weekend I was finally fed up with opening closet doors only to be met with an avalanche of “stuff” attacking me. Trash bag ready, I braved my way through three packed closets.

Why was I putting off this important task?

Well, first of all, and most obviously, it was destined to be a boring and time-consuming task. Most weekends I’ve just been too tired from my long commute and challenging work, so I have been focusing on less tedious tasks like grocery shopping, window cleaning and painting my walls.

Other excuses for not cleaning my closets have included traveling out of town, dealing with and surviving various illnesses, having had other obligations, etc. At the end of the day, however, I admit that I’ve simply been “excuse making” because it’s easier than facing the truth… and that is that I’ve just been plumb lazy.

I am busy, that is true, but I’ve managed to find time to do everything else that I have wanted to do. I couldn’t find time to clean out a closet, but I have had no trouble making time to go to the movies, to go shopping, or to read a favorite new book for three hours straight!

The funny thing is that when I finally set my mind to do it, it wasn’t that bad. I found several pieces of paper and other trash that needed to be chucked. I discovered I had several pairs of shoes and shirts, and pants, and dresses that were ready for the thrift store. The most rewarding part of this process, however, was stumbling upon several little treasures. A couple of pairs of favorite shoes I had forgotten, a missing earring, and two or three books were among the closet’s booty.

As I finished cleaning each closet I was able to step back, admire my lost goods and appreciate the clutter-free space. It was hard work but worth the effort and I began wondering why I waited so long.

This experience reminded me of spending time with God. It’s so easy to come up with excuses to not make time for God during each day. Most of us live very packed and hectic days. We would rather spend what free time we have resting or enjoying recreational activities.  

Like when I closed the closet doors, it’s easy to ignore the need and to tell ourselves that we’ll study and pray “tomorrow” when we are rested and have more time. If you are like me, you know from experience that unless we carve out time each day, it will never happen because there will always be something more urgent or more (seemingly) interesting to occupy our time.

The amazing thing is that when we do carve out time to pray, study God’s Word, and reflect on what He is doing in our lives, we wonder why we put it off for so long. Like when I cleaned out the closets, time spent alone with God is often challenging, but there are so many treasures waiting to be discovered. He uses those times to show us truths through scripture, to grow us spiritually, and to clean some of the growth-hindering clutter in our lives.  

In the end, I guess the best treasure I found while cleaning my closets was a renewed conviction and desire to commit time to God and His Word… and to not put off until tomorrow what needs to be done every day.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China in the late 1800’s, offered some great advice for every believer – “Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.”

Further Reading

What is a Quiet Time?
Make Appointments with God