“Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.” – Mark 6:45-46.
“Immediately” is an often used word in the gospel of Mark. The word is designed to convey the urgency of Jesus’ message and mission. God wants us all to have a sense of urgency, not hurry, about living the life He created us for. Jesus modeled this urgent lifestyle flawlessly. He knew that there was a mission that He had been sent to accomplish and that His time was limited to do so. We see this emphasized in John 4 when Jesus refused to stop and eat as He saw the opportunity to minister to a Samaritan village.
His disciples urged Him, “Rabbi, eat something.”But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest….” So when the Samaritans came to him…because of his words, many more became believers.” (John 4:30-35, 40-41 NIV)
Jesus recognized this as an opportunity to do exactly what God sent Him to do. Jesus was never hurried. He was flexible, present, and sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. His eternal mission was His focus. His apostles were human and as a result, were hurried. They were preoccupied with the cares of life. They were trying to manage numerous tasks and obligations which is why Jesus’ response was so different.
Did Jesus have a full schedule sometimes? Yes. Were there more people that wanted His attention than He had time to see? Yes, again. But none of those things drew Him off course. He was never overwhelmed or hurried to the point where He lost His focus and stepped outside of His mission.
Nothing mattered but being in the center of His Father’s will. Thus He was ready to minister to the Samaritans. As a result, an entire community heard the gospel, and by the way, nobody starved in the process. We as Christians can learn that busyness is not a badge of honor. It usually means that our attention is divided across more responsibilities than we can effectively deal with. This is not what it looks like to live with urgency.
We look at a sense of urgency differently today. Urgency is stressful. It’s often addictive as we find ourselves constantly reacting to outside demands. Urgency can temporarily appeal to your sense of worth and purpose and create a sense of “getting things done.” But that is temporary because living a hectic life while constantly abandoning your goals to keep multiple balls in the air can sidetrack you from your real purpose. A sense of urgency comes from a clear understanding of one’s purpose.
- What does having a sense of urgency for the lost mean to you?
- What can you do this week to seize the opportunities God gives us?