Do What You Ought To Do – At Once
Bible Text: James 4:17 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. James 4:17
G. Keith Funston, a one-time President of the New York Stock Exchange, once said, “To achieve, you don’t necessarily have to dream the great dreams or do the great things. Simply do each day what you know you should do–and do it at once.”
“Doing at once what should be done,” made Mr. Funston a very successful businessman. His advice echoes words found in the Bible, written almost 2000 years ago: “To him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.”
How many times have you heard someone say, “I have so many things to do that I don’t know where to begin”? Organization can be a problem, but more often the problem is not that we don’t know what we should do, but that we simply can’t get into gear and motivate ourselves to action.
An efficiency expert by the name of Ivy Lee used to operate a firm out of New York City. Among his regular clients were such giant corporations as The Dupont Corporation and Pennsylvania Railroad. One day, Mr. Lee was trying to sell his service to the president of Bethlehem Steel, saying, “With our service, you will know how to manage better.” Back came the retort, “Our problem is that we are not managing as well now as we know how. What we need around here is not more `knowing,’ but more `doing,’ not knowledge–but action.”
The efficiency expert, Mr. Lee, said, “I can give you something in 20 minutes that will step up your `action’ and `doing’ by fifty percent.” He handed a blank 3×5 card to the president of Bethlehem Steel. “First,” said Lee, “write down the six most important tasks that you have to do tomorrow.” Then Lee said, “Now, number them in the order of their importance. Now put this card in your pocket and the first thing tomorrow morning, look at item one and start working on it. Pull the card out every 15 minutes and look at it. Do this until you finish. Start with the most important, and stay with it until you finish the job.”
The president of Bethlehem Steel tried it. It worked! And in the next five years Bethlehem Steel expanded into the biggest independent steel producer in the world. Ivy Lee was paid $25,000 for this one idea because he had a plan to DO WHAT SHOULD BE DONE THAT DAY.
Doing what should be done today could possibly be worth a great deal more than $25,000. Suppose that someone had a growing tumor but he was “too busy” to seek medical care. He would say, “I know I should do it today, but I just don’t have time. I’ll do it tomorrow.” You would say such a person is indeed foolish.
If doing today the things that should be done will make a man a success in the business world, and if it is also important in the medical field, it is no less important in the spiritual realm. The Bible says, “Now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians. 6:2).” By that it implies that tomorrow could be too late. Christ said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33, KJV). Why don’t you follow the efficiency expert’s advice and make a list of the six most important things you need to do today? Follow Christ’s instruction to put Him Number One on your list: Make peace with God. Scripture says, “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18, NKJV).
Procrastination in making peace with God through Jesus Christ costs many a man the peace of mind he could otherwise enjoy, and it could cost you eternal life. Ask God to forgive your sins and to help you do today what you know you ought to do.
Resource reading: Psalm 37:1-9