Sometimes I think procrastination rivals pride as the most serious sin. Every day, we forfeit small, ordinary, but significant opportunities to make to make a difference and to grow, because we’re waiting on a better and more convenient time. I’ll get to it later. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll start on that after school begins, after school’s out, after Christmas, on New Year’s, after my birthday, on next Monday. When things settle down. In a few minutes, in a little bit, after a while.
And, we countenance and conspire in delay on important, crucial matters of justice, mercy, and transformation. “We’re not ready for that. Let’s not rush into anything. Let’s conduct a feasibility study or appoint a blue-ribbon panel to make future recommendations.” We’ll do almost anything to keep from doing anything.
In Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” which echoed in the national conscience this past week as we remembered his having given it 50 years ago, he said:
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.
Jesus honored the fierce urgency of Now. Why wait when it’s possible to heal, to help, to love, to serve, to grow, to do justice, to show mercy and to love kindness now? I know that here are some situations in which it is difficult to see what might be a right and good next thing to do. All the more reason then, not to put-off, postpone, and squander the opportunities we have to stand up and help others to stand up to life’s challenges and opportunities—to rise up and to help others to rise up to the dignity and fullness of life God intends. It’s always the right time for the right thing.