The admonition, Don’t Wait Till The Last Minute, is one we all hear and have heard many times. Those words have come from teachers, parents, friends, spouses, ministry leaders, and so many others along the way including us. It is always sound advice and certainly intended to encourage us to accomplish a task, do well on an assignment, meet a project deadline, think through what we need to pack, and if we heed it, to avoid stress and disappointment in our performance.
Somehow those words often can result in feelings of frustration as well. We may not admit that, but it shows up in the tone of our voice when we respond to it. We do not like to be reminded of things we need to do much of the time. Perhaps it is our pride that anyone would suggest we didn’t have an awareness of the deadline we are facing. Perhaps it is our reluctance to dig into it and set aside the excuses and procrastination that triggers the feelings. Perhaps it is our regret at our commitment to complete it from the beginning. It is a reminder that our time is not our own.
Nevertheless, duties, assignments, projects, and the like are a part of our daily lives and something we cannot avoid. Time. We complain when we are older that we do not have enough of it. We grumble when we are younger that we have too much time on our hands and are bored.
Time is a gift. We spend some of it every day while never knowing what our allotment of time is. We can feel we have no choice in how we spend it, but that is an illusion. There are duties for each of us, but the things we have committed to whether it is a job, a class, our family, a ministry, or anything else are choices we have made.
Perhaps the greater challenges, however, are the truly important things for which we never receive such an admonition and yet we should remember daily.
What kinds of things should we not wait to do lest we miss an opportunity? Here might be a short list that you can add to:
- Tell those we love that we love them and why (Don’t wait until they are dying.)
- Kiss our children and tell them something positive we noticed about them (Don’t wait! They are growing up so fast and they will hear so many negative things from others in their lives.)
- Notice the world around you and become a good observer so you experience the wonder of creation and places where you may be needed. (Don’t wait to look up at the star-studded sky, smell the flowers you planted weeks ago, notice the neighbor whose steps are slowing.)
- Take time to read and reflect on God’s Word (Don’t wait to discover the words the Lord wants you to hear from Him for that very day.)
Don’t simply add these to your “to do” list, but ask the Lord to help you keep the important ahead of the urgent in each day. It is usually the small things that are remembered by those around us long after we have been with them.
In God’s Word there are many reminders about time and our responsibility to be good stewards of that time. I was reminded of that again as I was reading in Mt. 25:1-13 about the wise and foolish virgins and the return of the Bridegroom. When we see the reminders we can be tempted to chafe again and add to our “to do” list, but I don’t think the Lord is as interested in our “doing” as in our relating to Him, loving Him, and loving one another.
Perhaps the truly important admonition is this: “Don’t wait till the last minute to receive Him, love Him, to love those He has brought into your life.”