Biblical Worldview

Jonathan Edwards on Procrastination

In Procrastination, or the Sin and Folly of Depending on Future Time, the great theologian Jonathan Edwards offers an interesting biblical perspective on procrastination.

Proverbs 27: 1 states, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Edwards points out that putting off until tomorrow what should be done today is arrogantly assuming that there will even be a tomorrow.

There is a sense in which we should make preparation for the future. Edwards points out that we do not live as though today were our last day, but live so that we do not depend on another day.

I’ll leave you with a portion of Edwards’s wisdom. But consider this: are there ways in which you are depending on another day? Is your procrastination sinful boasting of tomorrow?

Jonathan Edwards:

God hath concealed from us the day of our death, without doubt, partly for this end, that we might be excited to be always ready, and might live as those that are always waiting for the coming of their Lord, agreeably to the counsel which Christ gives us…That watchman is not faithful who, being set to defend a house from thieves, or a city from an enemy at hand, will at any hour venture to sleep, trusting that the thief or the enemy will not come. Therefore it is expected of the watchman, that he behave himself every hour of the night, as one who doth not depend upon it that the enemy will tarry until the next hour. Now therefore let me, in Christ’s name, renew the call and counsel of Jesus Christ to you, to watch as those that know not what hour your Lord will come…

Be exhorted therefore, for your own sakes, immediately to awake from the sleep of sin, out of sleep, and sleep no more, as not depending on any other day. – Let me exhort you to have no dependence on any future time; to keep every Sabbath, and to hear every sermon, as it were the last. And when you go into your closet, and address yourself to your Father who seeth in secret, do it in no dependence on any future opportunity to perform the same duty. When you that are young go into company for amusement and diversion, consider that it may be the last opportunity of the like nature that ever you may have. In all your dealings with your neighbours, act as if you were never to make another bargain. Behave in your families every day, as though you depended on no other.

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