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  • Jim Etherton

Urgent or Important

Many of us are not very good at distinguishing the difference between urgency and importance.

For most of us, making a will is not particularly urgent but is nevertheless very important if we do not want to cause problems for our loved ones after we die. It is worth taking time to do this with adequate thought and attention to detail. Meanwhile, we may have lots of urgent things that need to be done today such as shopping for and cooking meals, ensuring we have put the bins out on time, etc, etc.

The trouble is that so often, the biggest, most important things get put off indefinitely because all our time and energy is spent on the many much smaller things that we need to do each day. Sometimes we need to make space in our lives for these big important things and then fit the small things around them.

Thinking about the real meaning of life is one of those big things. Deciding whether we believe that the Christian message is true is of huge importance. If it is true then it is the most important thing in the whole universe. Because if it is true, then our response to it not only determines our eternal destiny, but could change our lives now in a very positive way.

In the Bible, we can read about various people who encountered Jesus in person. He invited people to believe in him and to respond by following him. Most accepted his invitation and experienced the excitement of witnessing his miracles and hearing his teaching – but to do so they had to allow their lives to be changed. Many of the smaller, less important things had to be left behind. There is just one example of someone who declined Jesus’ invitation – not because he doubted who Jesus was but because he was not prepared to let go of what he had (see Chapter 10 of Mark’s Gospel). Smaller things had got in the way of the most important thing.

Make space for the big, important things today and don’t let them be put off forever because life gets filled up with things which, though they seem urgent, are ultimately less important.

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