Kicking The Can

March 17, 2024

There’s an expression for procrastinating called, “kicking the can.” Just picture a person walking down the street and seeing a can, of which the content is of great worth. Rather than picking up the can and gleaning from the contents, the person elects to kick the can down the road, thus delaying picking it up and making use of the contents. Down the road, arriving at the new location of the can, the traveler elects to kick it again, rather than deal with what might be involved in picking up the can and the expectations that the contents would have on him. When the can is kicked a third time, it slips into the sewer and immediately is lost forever.

Have you ever kicked the can down the road? We all have procrastinated on things – making decisions, acting on things when we know we should, or worse still we’ve put off serving God in doing things we know we should be doing. It doesn’t make sense to procrastinate, but we all do it. Maybe this little study on the evils of “kicking the can” will help get our (me too) attention so that we act instead of putting things off.

Haggai 1:2–7 (ESV) — 2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” 3 Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways.

God had blessed His people to return from Babylon and had provided for them a way of rebuilding the Temple, even the supplies needed, but the people procrastinated saying, “the time has not yet come.” Sounds like kicking the can down the road. God in return calls on them to consider their ways, like saying, “how is that attitude working out for you?” Then He points out that the people are in great want because of their neglect of the first priority, namely the worship of God.

Solomon reminds us to look to the ant and consider all the ant is able to accomplish. You will notice there is no “kicking the can,” rather diligence in prioritizing and doing even though there is no leader over the ant.

Proverbs 6:6–11 (ESV) — 6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

Solomon also lists the results of living a life of a “sluggard,” a person who perpetually kicks the can down the road, whereas the diligent, the person who acts on what he knows to do, not only gets the job done but reaps the reward.

Proverbs 20:4 (ESV) — 4 The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.

Proverbs 13:4 (ESV) — 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Proverbs 19:15 (ESV) — 15 Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.

Proverbs 14:23 (ESV) — 23 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

Proverbs 20:13 (ESV) — 13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.

Proverbs 22:29 (ESV) — 29 Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Proverbs 24:3–7 (ESV) — 3 By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 5 A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, 6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. 7 Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he does not open his mouth.

Where do you find yourself most often “kicking the can” rather than doing what you know you should be doing? Too often we forget that whatever we do we are do it as “unto the Lord” so when we procrastinate at home, on the job, or in duties in serving God, we are robbing from God as we “kick the can,” and we are robbing from ourselves, our families, and our church.

Why do we elect to “kick the can?” Basically, we are saying the same things as those in Haggai’s day, “the time is not now.” Whoa! That is pretty bold and assuming in thinking we know more than God who puts things in front of us and we assume we will have the time to do what needs to be done later.

Proverbs 3:5–8 (ESV) — 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Consider the perspective of procrastination from an eternal view:

James 4:17 (ESV) — 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

On the other hand, consider the prospect of looking upon all of life as serving the Lord Jesus Christ and giving Him the very best of all that we are and have.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (ESV) — 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

Colossians 3:23 (ESV) — 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

The bottom line is simple: when you know what you should do, just do it and do it to the best of your ability as unto the Lord.  Don’t kick the can.


Bob Brubaker, Pastor