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Is It Urgent or Important?

June 9, 2008

I’ve have been convicted lately of the difference of the important versus the urgent in my everyday life.  As a mother, I see most of my duties as urgent.  When the dryer goes off, it is urgent that I get the clothes out & put on hangers or they will get wrinkled.

Sometimes, I know I get urgent & important confused.  My children are important, not the clothes in the dryer.  My husband is important, not posting to my blog.

Do you get these confused also?  We are not the only ones.  This is an age old problem.  The disciples of Jesus also had this confused.  In fact, I think Jesus spent most of his time trying to teach the disciples that it was the people and the condition of their heart that was the most important, not the Law.  They were still held tightly to the law of the Pharisees.  This is what they grew up with & this is all they knew.  Jesus did not teach what the Pharisees had been teaching for hundreds of years. They added hundreds of rules & laws to God’s law and this is what the Jew was expected to live by. It was hard for the Disciples to change their way of thinking and understand what Jesus wanted of them.  He wanted them to stop looking at people through the eyes of the law, but see them through the eyes of God, with love and compassion.

Jesus said, In Mark 10:13-16 parents were bringing their children to Jesus for a blessing.  The disciples tried to get them to go away.  Children were not worthy to be with Jesus.  Jesus did not agree.  He understood that these precious little children were very important and he told the disciples to stop & let the children come to him.  I’m sure the disciples felt that there were much more urgent matters to attend to, not children.No one knew better than Jesus how precious the souls of these children were and how innocent their faith was.

I have become more conscious of the importance of the heart of my child these last few weeks.  My youngest daughter was sick with a fever last week.  I so badly wanted to get my laundry done & out of the way, but she wanted me to lay down and watch cartoons with her.  I set my laundry down, knowing that it would take me a long time to get all of the wrinkles out, and laid down with her until she went to sleep.  This was important to her for me to lay with her while she was sick.

Issues of importance are on a vertical scale.  They deal with your relationship with God first and then your relationship with others.  They are self sacrificing, they are private and often invisible.  It is choosing others over yourself.

Issues of urgency are on a horizontal scale.  When addressed they do not enhance a relationship with others. It is putting yourself before others even though we think we are doing it for someone else. They are often simply tasks to perform.  There is a time & place for the urgent; but, our world has replaced the important with the urgent. Urgent things when done are usually very visible to to others.  When I cook dinner, everyone knows it because they can smell it.  When I check email, the sender knows because I respond.  But when I pray for that sender, know one knows but me & the Lord.

Do you see the difference? It is the things of importance that really matter.  Those urgent things can wait; really, they can.  What is the worst thing that will happen if you read with your little girl and don’t clean up the kitchen right after dinner?  You might have to scrub that pan a little harder.  But the reward is that you have filled up your daughter’s love tank by stopping the urgent and doing the important with her.

I have never regretted putting aside the urgent for the important.  I have always looked back and wondered why I put so much importance on what I thought was urgent and regretted it.  I have missed wonderful conversations with my teens because I thought I just had to get that email sent out, or missed out on  baby doll tea parties because I was determined to get the whole bathroom clean.

mom.baby.playToday, evaluate your day.  What is on your list that you would consider urgent and what is there that is important.  Usually the important things are not on the list, they are hidden within the list.  Don’t miss them!  Be mindful of what important things that God is placing in your day.  You will be greatly blessed for choosing the important and I think you will be amazed at how you will still get the urgent things done also.

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