Jesus could say at the end of his short earthly life, “I have finished the work which you gave me to do.” (John 17:4) But I wonder how many of us will be able to say that? Are you doing what God has given you to do, or are you distracted and burned-out by trying to do urgent things that are not truly important?

Though Jesus did much during his short earthly life, he didn’t do everything everybody wanted him to do. He didn’t heal all the sick; he didn’t reach everyone. When so much was left undone, how could Jesus say he had finished his work? In his pamphlet, “The Tyranny of the Urgent,” Charles Hummel puts it so well:

“Here is the secret of Jesus’ life and work for God: He prayerfully waited for His Father’s instructions and for the strength to follow them. Jesus. . .discerned the Father’s will day by day in a life of prayer. By this means He warded off the urgent and accomplished the important.”

If we want to be free from burn-out and free from being victimized by the loud voices of urgency which surround us, we must remember what Jesus told us: “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). A life of prayer and a life of daily abiding in the Word of God is our key. But oh, how easy it is to let these truly important things be shoved aside by all our urgent voices.

Urgent things usually have deadlines and time frames, while important things may not. Therefore, it’s quite easy to do the urgent things, but leave the important things undone.

What we Christians need in order to find balance in our lives is to get rid of some of those urgent voices and determine to do what is important. At the top of our important list should be the commitment to spend substantial time in our pursuit of knowing the living God.