Each of us have busy lives; I get it. With a recent move in my past, I can attest to busyness. I have so much to do, and only 24 hours in a day. Thankfully, NOT everything has to be done today (although it sure would be nice to get it all done and relax tomorrow).
Because we have limited time on our hands, we must establish priorities. Unfortunately, I am one that even if I establish a list of priorities, I still seem to miss the boat, and get distracted by other things that need done. This happens whether I am at work, or at home.
So, what is the best way to focus on our priorities? Well, a lot of experts will tell you to start by making a list of everything to be done. Then, focus on the important, not necessarily urgent items. What’s the difference? A good example of an important task is feeding your family or paying your bills. An urgent task on the other hand is answering a ringing phone (wait, does it really need answered right now? – most times the answer is “no”). Focus on the important things first! [Of course, some will say you don’t know if the phone call was important unless you answer it; this is correct, but how many times are phone call topics urgent? Not very often.]
I’d like you to read the story below and see what you think about the importance and urgency of the tasks the shepherds had to do:
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. [note: important and urgent task]
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” [note: urgent task]
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. [note: important task]
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. [note: important task] (Luke 2:8-20 ASV)
Do you agree with my assessment: important vs urgent?
Did you find that the shepherds left their important task [tending sheep] to answer the call of the angels [urgent task]? Was it important for the shepherds to visit the Babe in the manger?
. . .
Further point to ponder, prior to today’s reading had you ever noted what the shepherds did in verse 17? They told others about Jesus’ birth [was this an urgent or important task], and then in verse 20, they returned to glorify and praise God [important task].
Is it urgent or important that we tell others about Christ?