I learned urgency where I think a lot of us did: in first grade. I did not learn it in Kindergarten, because everything was measured and it was less than a half day and if you you were half way clever, no one even suspected that you ever went to the bathroom or restroom. Really? People were taking naps in there?
I learned urgency when seated in my little chair either paying attention to Mrs. Criswell or watching Billy Wiebold and Jim Holder eat paste; and my body would remind me. I had needs. I could feel a slight pressure that served to reassure me this was not going away. It was only going to get worse.
And adults seemed clueless that this was fraught with peril. Even when you don’t have to raise your hand and ask (Mrs. Criswell was forward thinking there), even when all you had to do was get up and go there was peril. You see, getting up to go meant that every one knew. I mean, every one was getting pretty worldly, so we all knew each other went to the restroom, and maybe resting came after, but they did not know I was going right then.
It paralyzed Kay. Sitting there in enough petticoats to be in a movie with that unmistakable trickle running off the wood and steel chair onto linoleum, and the tears forming. We all knew, then for sure. Maybe she forgot about that before she died or got married.
Anyway, one could sit there feeling a growing sense of urgency, while at the same time exploring ways to ignore it and hope it went away. Possiblilities abounded, lunch could come two hours early, recess could be declared completely at random, or nuclear war drill would put everyone else under their desks and you blithely slippped in and out — unnoticed.
It’s funny, is it not? We learn both urgency and ways to make it go away simultaneously, like countries, like churches, like global warming.
I learned Adult urgency from John Edmund Haggai. Like any evangelist he had a great Thursday night sermon on the urgency of reaching the world for Christ. Unlike all the rest, he also built an institute in a Third World locale, staffed with brilliant Third World faculty and leaders, and ways to get them trained and back into leadership positions in countries Baptists had no hope of reaching.
And here is the other wild thing about true urgency: it is not, like in the first grade, dependent on how we feel about it. It simply is. Urgency is not a factor of age – I must do something about this before I die – or feeling. It simply is.
John built the Haggai Institute when he was young. You heard he was passionate about it, but it went far, far beyond how he felt about it…and millions of lives have been changed.
In the same way, it does not matter how I feel about climate change. The world is hurting, species and habitats are vanishing, Christians believe they have been given dominion over the thing, so they should be the first, the most devout ecologists.
Quit sitting in your chair, jiggling your leg trying to figure a way to make this go away. Get up, act on your urgency. People are dying. The world is suffering.
Sic ‘em. Gotta go now.