Many Christians love to obey the command of Christ to take the Gospel to those who have not heard about Him. But the greatest challenge is the delay associated with this obedience. For one reason or another, procrastination has hindered believers from realizing the objective of this mandate that Christ gave to us before his ascension.
Procrastination is a strategy of the devil to stop believers from achieving the mandate of the Great Commission. It is the mindset that says, “I will reach the unreached next year,” or “it is not yet time for me to get involved in missions.” Many do not realize their folly until it becomes too late and regret follows.
“Must I go, and empty-handed?” These were the exact words of lay evangelist and Martin- Luther-descendent, Charles C. Luther, on his sickbed. He was not afraid to die, but he was afraid to meet His maker without a soul to present to Him. Most of us are likely to fall into a similar situation because we think that there is still time. Jesus warned us about procrastination: “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35).
Procrastination dealt a terrible blow to my ministry. We were planning to carry out Gospel missions in Nigeria. We set the target date but procrastinated for six months with reasons ranging from no resource to fear of being attacked. When we finally made up our minds and went, we discovered that the village head and the priest of the idol in that village had passed away a few weeks before our arrival.
My team and I were devastated at the news of their demise. We had the opportunity to introduce them to Christ, but we delayed and this singular weakness of our flesh caused these souls to die without Christ.
There are missionaries who could have reached some places if they had been adequately supported, but procrastinations on the side of those who would have given them financial support and prayer delayed their progress. At times the reasons for the delay are genuine, but we need to realize that delay is very dangerous and that we do not have unlimited time to carry out this assignment. “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work” (John 9:4).
We usually have millions of reasons as to why we keep putting off praying for missions, supporting missions work, and going to preach the Gospel. But Christ will not accept our reasons no matter how genuine they may sound. “He said to another person, ‘Come, follow me.’ The man agreed, but he said, ‘Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.’ Another said, 'Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.' But Jesus told him, 'Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God'" (Luke 9:59-62).
We must strive to obey Christ's command. It is not optional; it is a must. If we want to look at circumstances and situations, we will be afraid to get involved in missions. “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” (Ecc 11:4).
Delayed obedience is far better than absolute disobedience. We can jump up today, dust ourselves off and begin to get involved in missions. The Gospel of Christ can only be good news if we deliver it on time. There is nothing good about it if it arrives late when sinners are no longer alive to make decisions to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.