Dr. Doug Posey
Most things in life carry with them a sense of urgency. I have a deadline for getting this blog/eSermon done in order to get it out on time on a weekly basis. The weeks roll around with lightening speed when it comes to worship services, requiring prep for fresh teaching from the Word of God, celebration in music and all the other aspects of the weekend gatherings. No sooner is one week “in the can” and the next is in need of urgent attention. Of course, this is apart from all the other immediate demands and “fires” needing to be put out on a daily basis in the normal course of shepherding a flock. So many critical, pressing issues.
It has to do with the fact that we’re all on a limited timeline in this life. None of us really knows the length of it. We all know we have a finite amount of time here in which to get things done. Certain activities demonstrate the urgency of completing tasks in a timely manner. One pastor used that kind of activity to make the point,
Sitting on the hard wooden bleachers at Fort Benning while attending the United States Army Airborne School, we prepared for our first parachute jump. Soon we would soar hundreds of feet above the red Georgia clay and hear the jump-master bark out the orders, "Stand up! Hook up! Check equipment! Stand in the door! Go! Go! Go!" Understandably, the instructors had our undivided attention.
The Airborne sergeant's voice rang out confidently as he explained what to do in case of a parachute malfunction. "If your main parachute should fail to deploy, don't panic—pull the handle of your auxiliary parachute. Should your auxiliary parachute fail to fill with air, don't panic—pull it in toward your body and then vigorously throw it away from yourself. Should your auxiliary chute again fail to deploy, don't panic—vigorously repeat this process."
He paused dramatically, looking intently into our eyes. Then with a slight mischievous grin he slowly stated, "Should this also fail, don't panic. You'll have the rest of your life to get your parachute to deploy."
(Tim Wilson, pastor of Indian Hills Christian Fellowship, Indian Hills, Colorado, from a sermon titled,"Urgency")
You can probably remember various times in your life—maybe not skydiving—when you were forced to prioritize what was really important. Those priorities could have been related to finances, or something else, but often the most important factor in determining our priorities is time. Like an emergency room, or a medical unit on the battle field, time is of the essence when it comes to the most severely wounded. It literally becomes a matter of life and death. Thus, they triage the casualties based upon urgency. They don’t have the luxury of taking their time.
It’s different with God. Being infinite; He’s not constricted by time. But, He won’t wait forever for us to act on things He’s asked of us. God reminds us through David in Psalm 95, “He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts…” (Ps. 95:7-8). He goes on to warn the readers not to be like the Israelites, wandering in the wilderness who, rather than listening to God when they had the chance, lacked faith and missed the window of opportunity to enter the Promised Land. “Today” became “yesterday.” They tested God’s patience. Time ran out to come into His rest.
There does come a point at which it is too late to get the parachute to deploy. So many Christians would say they love Jesus, but they are putting off living like it for later. They can’t seem to pull the ripcord on true commitment. How much could you really love someone when demonstrating that love becomes low on your list of priorities? Because of His grace, God may wait a while, but let the Israelites be a lesson, it’s not a chance you want to take.
“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”