Living with Urgency

July 29, 2022

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14 NIV

One of the most central characteristics of a Jesus follower must be a sense of urgency.

Urgency is defined in the dictionary as being immediate, determined, and persistent. It’s the speed and intensity in which we do things. It’s when we realize something is crucial and it must happen NOW! It’s what makes things suddenly possible. When our daughter Rachel was a baby, there was a certain kind of pacifier that could soothe her instantly when she was overtired, hungry, distressed for any reason. As inexperienced parents, we only had one, and we lost it somehow on a trip to Chicago for a conference. We learned a deep and personal lesson in urgency. We thought we had no extra time to get there, but suddenly we had time to stop at numerous stores and run in to check for this unique brand. We thought we needed to conserve our money, but when we finally found the elusive “binky,” we bought a handful. When something is urgent we find time where no time previously existed and resources when we thought there were none. We are creative, motivated, passionate, persevering, purposeful. We collaborate with others. When something is urgent, we pump adrenaline and perspiration because we care that much.

Would you say you live with urgency about the things of God? One of the most tragic things about the majority of Jesus followers is that we believe many things to be true, but we live as if we had all the time in the world to take action on those things. Urgency is perhaps the most neglected aspect of our discipleship. Read the gospels, especially the book of Mark. See how many times words and phrases like “immediately” and “at once” are used. They lived compelling, transformed lives that turned the world upside down because once they realized that Jesus was truly alive again, nothing was more important than living a life in tune with all he is. We live as James said, with the realization that our life is a mist, and requires urgency.

We can value many superficial habits and traits as proof of spiritual maturity. But frankly, if you read the Word and study the ministry of Jesus and his faithful followers, you will see that spiritual maturity is largely about urgency. The more mature you are, the shorter the obedience gap between when God says something and when you obey. Urgency marks our lives. Obedience follows quickly and passionately. We understand what God is about in our world and that our window of opportunity to be a part of it is now.

  • The church should be the most urgent place in the world because we have the most significant, most urgent mission. Jesus followers should be the most urgent, passionate, and faithful of people because we are loved so deeply and entrusted with so much. How urgent are you?