Hurry!! There’s A Deadline!


This morning as the fog was slowly replaced by conscious thought, I remembered something I had been meaning to get to all week.  It suddenly hit me, I am a PROCRASTINATOR.  According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a procrastinator is someone who intentionally puts off doing something that should be done.  According to my daughter-in-law, Jenesa, “It’s not procrastination, it is good planning.”  While, I prefer Jenesa’s definition, I’m afraid my lack of diligence fits more perfectly into that of Merriam-Webster. After examining my thought process in relationship to task process, I realize I work best when constrained by DEADLINES.

It is amusing to watch an individual’s body language when the word deadline is mentioned.  It is as if a curtain drops, a mental block is put into place draining all of their energy and enthusiasm for the project.  Could it be because behind its benign modern definition lurks its literal original meaning?  We use the term “deadline” to refer to a specific time when a project is to be completed, but it literally means a line beyond which you die.  According to one source, the word deadline first appeared as a word that referred to the line around a military prison beyond which soldiers were authorized to shoot escaping prisoners.  Perhaps the word strikes such fear because deep down we feel that if we miss the set date we may die.  I can promise you that most of the deadlines you face in life will not result in death if missed but maybe we should not discount the seriousness of some of the approaching deadlines.

I worked for several years as a Controller of a company.  For all of you who have ever worked in an Accounting Department, you understand the word Deadlines.  The entire monthly accounting cycle is determined by deadlines; report deadlines, tax deposit deadlines, information submission deadlines, budget deadlines, etc.  Although missing a deadline would not cost me my life, it could cost the company stiff fines, non-compliance penalties and ultimately my job.  The deadlines were important and took planning and prioritizing every day.  There is a deadline approaching in each of our lives that can be met through a time of planning and prioritizing first thing each morning and executing the plan for that day.  This is a deadline you don’t want to miss; the penalties are irrevocable and eternal.

Matthew 25 tells us of ten virgins.  Five had planned and prioritized their life so that they were ready for the bridegroom’s appearance.  The other five, however, were procrastinators.  They were all aware of the approaching deadline, they were aware of the preparations necessary to wait for the bridegroom and that once the bridegroom appeared they must be ready to go with him. The Bible doesn’t fill us in on the many distractions that came between them and the long awaited day, but as the countdown began, five realized they had missed an important item on their list of priorities.  They had forgotten to fill their lamps with oil.  While they were at the market, the bridegroom came and they missed the deadline.  Although they knocked and begged to be allowed in there was no grace-period extended.

April 15, tax day, is fast approaching.  If you are one of the tax-procrastinators, missing this deadline will merely cost you a fine.  Walking into work past the deadline too many times, may cost you your job, but hopefully you will learn a lesson and be on time at your next position.  There will be many deadlines over the course of your life that you will meet and others you will miss with less than dire consequence but have you thought of the “end of life” deadline that we are racing toward every day.  Young people think they are invincible and old people become obsessed about dying, yet we all come to the same conclusion; this life ends and eternity begins.    The deadline is approaching faster than you can even imagine, just ask an elderly friend.  The bridegroom may return in your lifetime or we may pass through death but the deadline cannot be avoided; eternity waits.  Do you have your priorities in order?  Is your lamp full of the oil of the Holy Spirit?  Are you ready and waiting?  Hurry!!!  There’s a deadline!!!!


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