I can vividly recall some of my high school days. One recurring theme that sticks out in my mind is exam time. Tests and exam times were the bane of my existence. I looked forward to them as much as a hedgehog looks forward to balloons for Christmas. Having said that, there was one thing that I was very skilled at when it came to school examinations. I refer to the art of the 11th hour. Yes, dear friends. I speak here of the timeless (excuse the pun) art of procrastination. Instead of doing a bit of work every day throughout the school term at a constant and unhurried pace, I would opt instead for attempting to cram a term of information in my thoroughly traumatized brain a couple of days before the test in question. Looking back, I'm unable to suggest that this was the most promising strategy available to me.

It is with a measure of disappointment in myself that I confess that this tendency towards procrastination plagues me to this day to some degree. So many important and rewarding tasks and activities are relegated to a future date and time. Most times by far, these decisions are made based on the promise of tomorrow. There's always another day to embrace that new experience or to tackle that task, I tell myself. There's still plenty of time left before that project is due. What a misguided assumption it is...this unquestioned expectation of tomorrow. So often we live our lives based on the assumption that another day is always afforded to us. Says who? What guarantee do we have? It is true to say that the vast majority of people who have lived and died in this world had no idea that they were living the last hour of their lives before they lost it. Who among us this very moment can say with absolute certainty that we will still be drawing breath on this earth by this time tomorrow? The fact is that none of us can. This should be a very sobering thought.

Imagine a person who wakes up in the morning and starts each day with the same ritual. As their feet hit the floor a bee-line is made for the bathroom where a $100 note is promptly torn to shreds and flushed down the toilet. This happens day after day with clockwork regularity. What would we say of such a person? Undoubtedly, that kind of behavior is just simply ridiculous, right? Why would any person in their right mind throw hard earned money down the toilet? The paper it's printed on is worthless, but the concern is over what that paper represents. It represents the effort and toil in earning a living, as well as the various necessities and rewards that can be obtained as a consequence. Now I ask you, which of the following would you rather have: the guarantee of a livable income for the next year, or the guarantee of living through the next year? The answer to that question should illustrate the fact that money, as useful and attractive as it may be, is of no use to a dead person. Time is immeasurably more valuable than money. It will always be so. Now, consider again if you would the scenario I suggested of a person consistently flushing money down a toilet. As ludicrous a notion as that may be, through the habit of procrastination, aren't we guilty of something far, far worse?

Life is precious, and it is fragile. It is made up of the smallest moments which are strung together to form minutes, hours, days, and so on. The curse of procrastination should now become increasingly evident. When we squander time and fail to use it wisely we are guilty of nothing less than flushing our very lives down the toilet. Every moment that passes takes us closer to a fate that awaits us all. With every minute that passes, the end of our natural life is one minute closer, and it is a minute that we can never recapture on this side of heaven. With this fact in mind, it is therefore incredibly important to guard our time with sober wisdom. Does this mean that rest and relaxation, or even entertainment, now becomes ungodly and irresponsible? By no means. What it does mean however, is that we are to take nothing for granted...in particular the gift of time which represents the gift of life.

It could be argued that time is the most precious commodity we have in this world. A foolish thing it would therefore be to fail to treat it accordingly. Show me a person who makes wise use of their time, and I'll show you a person who makes the most of their life.

(This article was originally written for CrossRhythms.co.uk and is re-printed with permission.)

Author's Bio: 

Grant Cyster is a freelance media provider and South African Freelancers' Association member specializing in the provision of professional writing and voice over services. His intrigue with the English language began at age 7 when he correctly spelled the word “badge” on the classroom chalk-board (a career highlight to this day). A singer-songwriter as well, Grant is single with no pets or teddy bears and currently lives in Cape Town. Visit his website, http://www.grantcyster.com, for more information about him and his work.