A young boy is fighting against the riptide and begins to drown. A pregnant woman’s water breaks and the closest hospital is an hour away. A man’s climbing harness breaks and he clings to the rope with all his might. These are situations where a sense of urgency swells within us. The time for conversation and deliberation has passed and quick action is needed. When I look at my own life and the lives of many of the people around me, I see more often than not a lack of urgency and it’s slowly sucking the life from our intended trajectories and legacies.
Is your life marked by urgency? Or is it marked more by slothfulness, laziness, and apathy?
I recently spent a little over a week in Ethiopia, preaching and teaching at a pastor’s conference to over 2,000 church leaders. Throughout the conference church planters shared stories from the areas they have been working in to share the Gospel of Jesus. One of the repeating themes was urgency. These men were reporting amazing things that Jesus was doing in them and through them and they all shared a great sense of urgency to be back in their places of ministry doing the work Jesus was calling them to do.
I began to think about my own life and this sense of urgency. How many times do I wake up with a sense of urgency for the work at hand? How many times do I just go through the motions of my daily routines, not really giving care to the effects or outcomes of the things I am doing?
In the fourth chapter of Second Timothy, the Apostle Paul is writing his final words before he is martyred for his faith in Jesus. He gives Timothy a command to preach the word and to continue the work of the ministry Christ had called him to. Then he gives a final exhortation of the life he has lived saying in verse seven, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
As I was reflecting on these words it hit me. There is nothing passive about a fight. And there is nothing inactive about a race. Both of these activities have a sense of action and forward movement and if one is concerned with winning, there is a sense of urgency involved. In a fight and in a race, especially one of great distance, one must be mindful of not exhausting all of the energy at the very beginning but rather, pacing oneself to be able to go the full distance. This is wisdom for the race and the fight of life.
But we must be mindful of a sense of urgency. You do not know how long your life will last. You are not in control of the ticking of your clock. For from the moment you were born your life has been counting down the hours, the minutes, and the seconds that God has ordained for you to breath upon this earth. Do you have a sense of urgency to use your life well?
I sensed in many of the people I met in Ethiopia a sense of urgency. A sense of not wanting to wait until tomorrow but to maximize today. I want this for myself. I want to wake in the morning with a sense of urgency for the day ahead. I don’t want to just go through the motions and the routines of life. I want to breath fresh air everyday realizing it’s another day given to me to fight the good fight, to run the race, to move towards the intended trajectory I have set for my life in order to leave the lasting legacy I wish to pass down to the generations to come. A life of urgency. Not of nervousness or frantic chaos. But one that realizes I am not in control of my days. Today could be my last. And there is still so much I want to be a part of.
Do you have a sense of urgency? Where in your life do you need to exchange laziness, slothfulness, or apathy for urgency?