We are taught in the scriptures of the Plan of Salvation, the Plan of Happiness, the Plan of Redemption, etc. It has many names. But essentially it is God's plan for us to return to Him. Part of this plan requires us to come here to earth and be tested, be tried. We lived with God before we were born, and we chose to come here to this earth. We passed through a veil of forgetfulness that doesn't allow us in this life to remember what we knew before. Can you see the importance of that? How easy would it be if we knew why we were here, where we were going, and where we came from? How easy would it be if we knew with a complete certainty our purpose and destination?
But we don't. At least, we don't remember. But God loves His children more than we can imagine, and because of this He has called men in all ages to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to His children, to invite them to come unto Christ, to be saved, and to ultimately return to His presence.
But, you're asking, what does this have to do with procrastination? Well, you see, it all kind of boils down to this scripture taught by a servant of God, and recorded in a sacred volume called the Book of Mormon:
"For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness, wherein there can be no labor performed." (Alma 32:32-33)
Does that make sense? There's a lot in there. Essentially, we first learn that this life is the time we are given to prepare. It's a life where we learn and progress and sin and are tried and fall down and get up. Over and over. So it is today, the day of this life, that we need to perform our labors. But what happens? We get that "drive" to procrastinate. What is the problem with procrastinating? Amulek (the speaker here in these verses) tells us quite clearly: if we do not "improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness, wherein there can be no labor performed."
So if we procrastinate the good things, eventually it will be too late. Now, who would want that to happen? Satan. He does not want us to progress and learn. He wants us to put other, less important things in front of that which we really should be doing. And so that's why we have that tendency. As fallen men, we have that fallen, innate "desire" to put off the hard things and to do the easy things. In this way, Satan can distract us so that we don't do that which we need to do in this life in order to return to God.
How does this look in a family?
It may sound like this: "I am so tired. It's been a long day at work. I know that I need to take time with my kids, but I'm just so tired! I just want to relax, watch TV, read a book, and go to bed. I can play with them tomorrow."
Or it may sound like this: "It sounds like Julie is having a really hard time. I know that she's been having a rough time at college, but I'm sure that she'll be fine. She is our daughter after all. She's made of tough stuff. I won't worry about bothering her by calling her today. I'll call her tomorrow to check on her."
It may feel like this: "I feel that these kinds of shows our kids are watching just aren't helping them at all. They've got foul language, not the best dressed actresses, and way too much violence. But the kids and my husband love them so much! What can I do? Well, I'll let them watch it tonight and then maybe I'll talk to them tomorrow before they watch the next one..."
We all know how each of these situations ends. It never gets done. Why? Because the next day, when the same situation comes up, you rationalize and put it off another day. Why do we let ourselves do it? Because we get rid of that nagging feeling of "oh, I should do this now" by "committing" ourselves to do it the next day. We've "solved" the problem and can have a "clear" conscience.
Can we see how this is a tool of Satan? How he is trying with everything he's got to get us to not forget eternal relationships. To not help and serve our brother or sister. To not change someone's life for the better by showing them a better way.
Brothers and Sisters (and I call you that because you all are my spiritual brothers and sisters), I invite us all to stop procrastinating. Recognize who it's coming from. Recognize the tainted tauntings of the evil one, the hollow hopes given by Satan, and above all, the incorrect ideas that he puts in your head to appease your natural man.
Let us take the opportunity to lift our brother. Let us choose to do what is best right now. Let us be what God knows that we can be. And I promise that as we do so, we will finally reach a part of our potential and will finally be moving, unchecked, down the path of eternal life that will ultimately land us and our families at the right hand of God.