Tyranny of the Urgent
January 17, 2021
In his pamphlet, “Tyranny of the Urgent,” Charles Hummel claims there is an ongoing tension between things that are urgent and things that are important. Hummel notes the urgent wins far too often. The urgent becomes like a tyrant in our lives. Likewise, Steven Covey’s classic, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” calls the third habit “Put First Things First.” Focusing on the important, not what is urgent, is what will make us effective in the end.
An obvious thing about Jesus is His undeterred heart to do God’s will. The Lord Jesus had a remarkably tender and affectionate heart. It was evident in His total commitment to His mission. Luke 9:51 puts it like this: “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”
The Bible is full of stories about people who let other things crowd out the kingdom of God. Their hearts were dulled and possibly on the way to becoming hardened. In the Luke 14 text, people offered excuses: They bought a field or oxen or got married and that is why they could not attend the banquet. The truth is, they did not want to go. As Bishop Mack Stokes used to say, “An excuse is the skin of a reason wrapped around a lie.”
Many today are serving the kingdom of self rather than the kingdom of God. They prefer creature comforts and convenience to commitment to the Creator. This is the incremental descent of effectiveness. Jesus would have none of this deception. He would not allow the urgent to usurp His affections. This resilience is why He is the most effective person who has ever lived.