One of the books I’m currently reading is “The Faith of Leap” by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost. In a rounded summary the book is about engaging the Christian life courageously, in fact, they make the argument that a life that isn’t moving into unexplored territory is not a life that is truly following Jesus.
There is a compelling section on the idea of urgency and the necessity of a sense of urgency in our lives if we are going to go anywhere. They make the powerful assertion that it is not failure that brings stagnancy but success:
Ironically enough, it is because of our successes that we can so easily slip into complacency. And it doesn’t have to be recent success; we have a long tradition of basking in old revivals.
They go on to draw from John Kotter’s book, “A Sense of Urgency” and offer several traits of leaders that create urgency within their followers. I believe that some of these traits should be foundational in our individual lives as well, particularly considering that we as Christians are people of movement, both corporately and individually (“Come FOLLOW Me, I will make you fishers of men”; “take up your cross and FOLLOW Me”; “COME to Me all who are weary”; “He SENT the twelve / seventy two”; etc…)
Leaders that successfully create urgency:
1. “…create emotionally compelling experiences” – Engaging life in an emotionally compelling way creates a bridge between the mind and the heart
2. “…look for the possibilities in crises” – When difficult times come we will make a decision between letting the situation create healthy movement in our decision making processes or we will step back and concentrate on damage control so we can still have a place to put our recliner among the smoldering ashes of our comfort zone
3. “… model urgency in their behavior on an ongoing basis” – Applying this to our individual lives as opposed to an organization, this helps us foster a community of people around us that have the same “go mentality”. Hirsch and Frost offer this:
Never underestimate the sheer moral power of a person living their philosophy.
We are built as people of exploration. Science, philosophy, invention, literature, all of these things point to our desire to see new things, experience new sensations, engage on new quests. Some of those quests are difficult, some are relatively easy, but all of them work to meet a desire that we have in our souls. When Jesus called the disciples from their jobs and lives to follow Him we would be mistaken if we believed He was merely assembling a team to help Him and carry on His work (though obviously He was doing those things as well). When Jesus called to Peter and John and Matthew and the rest of them He wasn’t just changing their professions He was offering them the chance to do what they had been longing to do since they were born, since the foundations of the world were laid even. He wasn’t giving them a job, He was giving them life. Could it be that our Prozac saturated culture be looking for more comfort or for more adventure? Is numbness ever a viable long term solution?
Tomorrow I will tie this idea together with the account of Jonah and his reluctance to follow God’s direction, but for today it is enough to ask ourselves some basic questions:
– What are the activities that I feel strongly enough about to clear a calendar, sweep off a desk, stay up late, get up early,etc… to accomplish? And what do those things say about my priorities?
– Is there any sense of adventure in my life? Do I live or exist?
– Do I really feel like the things that are important to me are leading me to a place that I actually want to end up?
– Is there anything I’m avoiding, any decisions I’m not making, any relationships I’m not building, any sacrifices I’m not offering due to fear or an unhealthy desire for the comfort of stationary familiarity?
– Am I doing anything in my life that Jesus would look at and say, “Well done…I can tell that you trust Me more than you trust yourself”?