The Tyranny of the Urgent

In the 1960s, Charles Hummel wrote a small pamphlet that became widely used in business networks. It was entitled The Tyranny of the Urgent, and at its core was the idea that “we live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that many important tasks need not be done today, or even this week. Extra hours of prayer and Bible study, a visit to an elderly friend, reading an important book: these activities can usually wait a while longer. But often urgent, though less important, tasks call for immediate response—endless demands pressure every waking hour” (Charles E. Hummel, Tyranny of the Urgent, rev. ed., 1994). As we consider our priorities and where God and our relationship with him falls on that list, we might ask ourselves a question: “Is the good getting in the way of the best?” To be certain, there is grace to be had. Our children’s activities are not evil. The time we spend working to provide for ourselves and our families is not sinful. We all understand that everything we do can be done to honor the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31). We only need to keep things in proper perspective as we filter all our life through God in prayer. It is his will we want accomplished in our lives, so we should invite him into it.