A MAN WITH A WAIT PROBLEM

 

When Paul was taken to Caesarea and he met the Governor Felix for the first time, we do not know if Paul saw a tall and thin man, a short and fat man or somewhere in between. But it didnít take long for Paul to figure out from the conversation that Felix had a wait problem.

 

Acts 24:25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you."

 

It appears that Felix believed what Paul was saying because it made Felix afraid, but instead of taking care of his sin problem, he decided to put it off, hence his wait problem which is better known as procrastination.

 

The question is, why did Felix have a wait problem? While the Scriptures do not give us the specific reason, we are going to explore several possibilities of why he decided to procrastinate. In doing this, we will also discover what cause us to procrastinate as well.

 

Felix may have just been indecisive.

 

This is something that most of us have experience from time to time. For instance, have you ever sent a waiter away at a restaurant because you could not make up your mind about what to order? There were just so many choices, that we delayed our decision. The same type of indecision happens when a person buys a car, chooses a house, or even gets married. Like many people, Felix may have been unable to bring himself to a definite decision.

 

In the spiritual realm, this is not a good trait to have because James said that a double minded man in unstable in his ways (Jam. 1:8). According to Strongs double minded means, wavering, uncertain, doubting, divided in interest. The word unstable means,

a person often changing his mind about something unstable, restless, unsteady.

 

When a person is like this spiritual, they cannot stay with a decision or remain faithful to God. We have to make sure that we donít find ourselves being like this because God doesnít want us to procrastinate when it comes to serving Him and obeying His commands. We need to have the same attitude that Caleb did who said,

 

Numbers 13:30 ÖLet us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it."

 

If you will remember it was only Caleb and Joshua who had enough faith and trust in God to be decisive instead of indecisive like the rest of the children of Israel were and we know that their procrastination caused them to end up wondering in the wilderness for 40 years. If we want to be pleasing to God, we must not be like Felix or the children of Israel of old. We must learn to seize every moment we can for the Lord by striving to be decisive instead of indecisive.††

Behind the scenes of an Arizona circus, a reporter named Bob asked a animal trainer, "How is it that you can stake down a ten‑ton elephant with the same size stake that you use for this little fellow?" he asked, pointing to a baby elephant who weighed three hundred pounds.

 

"It's easy" the trainer said. He continued:

 

When they are babies, we stake them down. They try to tug away from the stake maybe ten thousand times before they realize that they can't possibly get away. At that point, their "elephant memory" takes over, and they remember for the rest of their lives that they can't get away from the stake.

 

We are sometimes like these elephants. When we were teenagers, some unwise person may have told us some negative things that may be keeping us from achieving what we are capable of doing. For instance someone might have told you that you are not very good a planning or that you will never be a leader. Maybe we were told that you arenít good at anything. Unfortunately sayings like these can become a mental stake in our mind that causes us to believe what we have been told and then we donít even try as adults to reach our full potential.

 

Whether you believe or not most of us are capable of doing much more than we think we can. So, the next time you find yourself saying that you canít do something or you try and procrastinate remind yourself that it doesnít hurt to try because until to try you are not going to know if you can or canít do something.

 

Felix may have been a perfectionist.

 

Felix could have been afraid that he might not be able to change his habits and stick with perfectly at this time and so he wanted to put it off until he thought he could. Again, this is just a just another form of procrastination.

 

Solomon spoke about perfectionism:

Ecclesiastes 11:4 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.

 

Solomon is saying that if we wait around for the perfect working conditions we will never get anything accomplished because perfect conditions never seem to come around. Some have this attitude when it comes to attending the church services. If they think it to hot or to cold to winy or to rainy they wonít go. Or if they have a little discomfort in the back they might stay away because the benches are too hard. Or if they are sleepy they may decide not to go because the preacher is to long winded. The list could go on. The point is that if person wants to they can set up all kind of conditions that have be just right before they will attend and having this type of perfectionist attitude will cause you to very rarely to make it to services.

 

Not only can waiting for the perfect conditions keep some from attending the services as they should it can also keep them from being active in the church. A person with this problem will look at everyone elseís faults and imperfections and decide that they are not going to be involved with a bunch of hypocrites until they all change their ways.All of us should be opposed to hypocrisy, but to allow somebody else's hypocrisy to keep you from obeying God is senseless and most of the time its just an excuse.

 

The church is never going to be perfect because we all make mistakes. The only time we are perfect is when we come up out of the baptismal waters. If you are waiting for the church to become perfect before you start doing things with the church, then you will still be waiting until the day of judgment. Perhaps if we set the right example, we can help hypocrites overcome their hypocrisy as Paul said in,

 

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Perfectionism can also keep some from becoming Christians as Felix told Paul,

 

Acts 24:25 "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you."

 

Felix was saying that today is not good for me, I want to wait for a better day. However, as far as the Bible is concerned that day never came for Felix. Many have the same attitude as Felix. They understand that they should become Christians, but they have decided in their minds they are going to wait until a more convenient time. Some will say I will become a Christian when I get into College or when I get a job or when I get married. The problem is that when you think this way you will most likely change your mind again and again and you will continue to put off becoming a Christian and that is a dangerous thing to do because there are no guarantees of a tomorrow. As Paul said, Now is the day of salvation 2 Cor. 6:2. Donít allow perfectionism to keep you from become a child of God or from serving His as you should.

 

Felix may have been afraid.

 

Have you ever postponed a visit to the dentist? Have you delayed surgery or marriage counseling? A lot procrastination is based upon the misconception that it is easier to avoid problems until later than to face them now. There are two common fears that cause people to procrastinate:

 

First there is the fear of failure. Some become so scared that they are going to fail that they put off trying to do anything because they donít want to embarrass themselves.

Second there is a fear of success. Some afraid that if people can see that they can do something that will expect them do it from now on and so they will put it off.

 


How many times have we found ourselves being afraid to tell others about the Gospel because were are afraid of rejection, or we were afraid that they would not like us anymore?

How many times have we been afraid of what a brother may say that it caused us to refrain from correcting him?

 

When we are too fearful we set a snare for ourselves as the writer of Proverbs said,

 

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

 

We have to learn overcome our fears by trusting in the Lord. If we will allow it, Jesus can strengthen us and help us to overcome our fears, but we have to be willing to push forward. Fear is always going to be there and its not going away and this is why we must learn to work through our fear. As Mark Twain said, "Courage is not the absence of fear; it's moving ahead in spite of fear." The only way to avoid fear is to face it and to allow God to help you with as,

 

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

 

Felix may have been rebellious.

 

Parents tell their children to clean their rooms or take out the garbage, but if they don't want to do it, they will drag their feet and put it off all day if they can get away with it. Adults do this as well in the work place. If they donít like their boss and he wants them to do something quickly, they will not. Instead, they will take go as slow as the possible can or make excuses of why they canít do it all because they have rebellious attitude.

 

Sometimes members in a church can do this same thing. If the elders have asked them to do something and then they donít really care for the elders, they may put it off just to spite the eldership. Many can a rebellious attitude when it comes to obey Godís Word because they donít want to admit that they are wrong.

 

This same attitude can keep a person from being baptized because if they have been saying all along that baptism is not important and then they discover that it is important they have to admit that they were wrong and some people have a very difficult time with this. Some are bullheaded that they would rather lose their soul than admit that they were wrong to their wife, husband or anyone else. This certainly could have been why Felix put off becoming a Christian.

 

Paul was probably as mule headed as they come, but he managed to overcome his rebellious attitude and if he could do so can we. So, I hope that we can learn as Christians to stop being rebellious and resistant of serving God just for sake of saving face.

 

Felix may have been lazy.

 

Laziness has been replaced in our vocabulary by "underachieving," "lacking motivation," or some other innocent‑sounding term, but the Bible doesn't paint such a portrait of a lazy man.

It calls him a:

  • A sluggard"' (Proverbs 6:6)
  • A "wicked and slothful servant" (Matthew 25:26).
  • It explains that he will become poor (Proverbs 10:4; 13:4; 20:13)
  • That his house will soon become run down (Ecclesiastes 10: 18)
  • That he will be cast out from God ((Mat. 25:30)

 

It should be obvious that if someone is lazy they are going to have wait problem because they like to put everything off. However, Christians are not supposed to be lazy as Peter said,

 

2 Peter 1:5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;

 

Notice we are to diligently make our call and election sure by actively pursing the things that Peter has listed here. There is not room for laziness in Christianity. Some have the idea that being a Christian is easy, but Jesus stills us in Mat. 7:13:14 that it is a difficult journey on narrow path, but the reward of remain faithful is worth it all as,

 

Proverbs 13:4 ††The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

 

One test that reveal the workers from the non-workers is to call for several work days at the church building and simply observe who comes and who stays home. While some will have valid reason for not being able to come, some have no reason other then they donít want to work.

 

To overcome this form of procrastination Solomon would tell us to take a trip out to an anthill.

 

Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler,8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?

 

Ants donít need someone over them crack the whip or praising them for every step they take because they know there is work to be done and they do it. They donít waste their time coming up with cleaver excuses for not doing their job they simply do it and when the work is done, they have plenty of time to relax.

 

As we have seen, there are several possible reasons why Felix put off becoming a Christian and some of these same reasons are what keep some from serving the Lord as they should. When people choose to have a wait problem it can cause all kinds of problems and it cost you your soul.

 

When a person puts off dealing with a sin in their life the problem will become worse and worse until it become a crises. All of us have experienced this problem in one form another. For instance, in school of you put off writing a big report until the night before its due you would have to stay up all night to write and then it wouldnít even be close to your best work. Some of us have intentions of doing something for a someone or maybe we planned on inviting a person to church or having a Bible study with them, but we put it off to long and that person died. Then we kick ourselves because we didnít act when we had the opportunity.

 

This can also apply church discipline. Sometime people tend to ignore a problem hoping it will go away, but when that happens the problem turns into a monster and can divide a church. This is why so important that we donít ignore and put off problems in our lives or in the church because if we do again it makes a problem turn into a crisis.

 

Procrastination is nothing more than a waste of time and doesnít accomplish anything. Jesus told the parable about the foolish virgins who wasted their opportunity to meet the bridegroom because they procrastinated and did not buy enough oil (Matthew 25:3‑10). That is what can happen to us if choose to put off the work of the Lord.

 

Someone once said, "In the orchard of opportunity, it is better to pick the fruit than to wait for it to fall." John Greenleaf Whittier believed that the "saddest words of tongue and men are, it might have been. "

 

This is why Bible teaches us to take advantage of every day and use it to it fullest because,

 

Tomorrow is the realm of the unknown. Tomorrow may bring sickness, incapacity, or death; even if health favors you, tomorrow may bring decreased interest, faded desire, or shattered faith (Ecclesiastes 12:1‑7).

 

Jesus teaches us how foolish the farmer was in Luke 12:16ff because he was planning big things for tomorrow, but tomorrow would not come for him and tomorrow may not come for us. So, donít you think it time that we get out of rut and get busy for the Lord.

 

Colonel Rahl, the Hessian commander at Trenton, was in the midst of a game of cards when a courier brought a message stating that General Washington was crossing the Delaware River. Rahl put the letter in his pocket and did not read it until the game was over. Then he rallied his men, only to die just before his regiment was taken prisoner. A few minutes' delay cost him honor, liberty, and life. Opportunities are wasted by procrastination.

 

Think of all the souls that could have been saved; think of all the works that could have been done; think of all the restorations that could have taken place‑if we had only taken the opportunity.

 

The number one killer of dreams and enthusiasm is procrastination. Felix was moved by Paul's preaching, but his procrastination cost him his soul (Acts 24:25).

 

Procrastination leads to sins of idleness (I Timothy 5:13; Proverbs 10:19). As the saying goes, "The trouble with Mrs. Busybody is she just has too much spare time on her hands"; or, "Oh, if Mr. Tattler had more work to do and less time to talk, he'd be better off." Many men and women fill their days with too many useless things, leaving no time for God and His church.

 


We only have one life to do things right and we have no way of knowing how long our life will be so stop wasting your opportunities and do what you can for the Lord.†††

 

Good intentions are not good enough and it has been said that good intentions pave the road to hell. So, if you have a wait problem this evening and you have not been living your life for God as you should, then I hope that you will choose to kick procrastination to the side and start getting busy for the Lord.

 

If you are here tonight and you have been putting becoming a Christian, I hope you will decided to do it tonight because today is the day of salvation.

 

Adapted from a tract ďA man with a wait problemĒ by Allen Webster