The Urgency of Our Work
At the heart of what Christ has called us to do in Kingdom work is a sense of urgency. You can see it and hear it in the life of Jesus as he dealt with people or special moments or even his travel schedule. You hear him as he says, “Work … the night cometh” (John 9:4) or John says, “He must needs go through Samaria” (4:4), or he comes to the final breaths of his life and on either side there was a man, one who wanted to be right with the Lord when he left here. There is urgency surrounding every moment, every event of the cross, but at times in our churches whether in our pulpits or the pews or in the activities we are a part of, we lose or at least have a reduced sense of urgency. We deal with programs and schedules and the events of an activity or a worship service, and sometimes lose sight of the fact that this song or this sermon, this prayer or this gathering is designed so that men, women, boys and girls can have an encounter with God that will transform their lives. Sometimes we lose that sense of urgency because we forget how important what we’re doing actually is.
In virtually every area of life, whatever a person may be doing, there is generally a sense of urgency about parts of what they are doing. Maybe it’s a football player, and he comes to game time with a sense of urgency that all the practices, all the plans, all the preparation culminates in this encounter, and it is the difference between winning and losing to him. Or maybe it’s a singer who has prepared and prepared, memorized the song, knows every note, who finally stands on stage and everything must happen in the next two or three minutes. Yes, there is a pressure that builds and builds and an urgency that it be done now. Or walk into any particular discipline or profession and you will find in those peak moments, the urgency is there. The doctor, the teacher, the law enforcement officer, the politician, the car dealer, the store clerk, all have a moment that may be a high point of urgency that something has to be done and now is when it happens. In kingdom work it happens week after week and often day after day, and we begin to lose our sensitivity toward its urgency.
Some years ago a good friend who was an attorney had serious heart trouble and had to have major heart surgery. He was an attorney by profession and a good attorney on top of that. The surgery went well, his recuperation was now in process, and he and I sat down and talked one day. He looked worried and he looked weary and I asked him how it was going. He said, “Well, I’m doing okay.” He said the doctor told him he had to change his eating habits and he’d already lost some weight. The doctor told him he had to exercise and he had gotten into that pretty good. The doctor told him he had to lower his stress level, and that part he was having a real problem with. He told me that he didn’t see a way that he could lower his stress, because when you stand before the jury or the judge you have got to have things together and you have got to be on target and know what you’re doing to present the case. I said, “Well, I certainly understand.” He looked at me and said, “No, you don’t.” I said, “Yes, I really do.” He said, “I know you speak a lot and preach a lot but that’s not the same as what I do.” I said, “Well tell me about what you do.” He said, “Cases that I argue before the court, if I lose or win it’s the difference in millions of dollars for my clients and maybe even for me.” I said, “I understand.” He said, “Well, you really don’t.” I said, “I’m sorry but you’re the one who doesn’t understand.” He looked at me kind of strange and I said, “I’m serious. If you win or lose it’s the difference in millions of dollars for someone. The case I argue Sunday after Sunday and week after week, day after day, if I win or lose, it’s the difference in someone’s eternal destiny.” This man who was in church all the time kind of looked surprised and said, “I’ve never thought about it like that.”
This Sunday as you preach or teach, sing or carefully listen, remember that what is taking place here has eternal consequences and maybe someone listening to your message from the Lord is struggling with that decision of what will I do with Jesus. It is probably safe to say that everyone who comes to church or Bible study or to a church event arrives there with burdens, unsolvable problems, guilt, the crushing consequences of sin or just the emptiness and longing of wanting to be right with God. God has allowed you to be a part of their lives. That He will bless you and use you, is my prayer.