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Articles > Recovery: > The Tyranny of the Urgent

The Tyranny of the Urgent

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal … to tear down … to build … to weep … to laugh … to mourn … to dance … to scatter …. to gather … to embrace … to refrain … to search … to give up … to keep … to throw away … to tear … to mend … to be silent … to speak … to love … to hate [and] a time for war and a time for peace."1

At least in our Western culture many, if not most of us, seem to feel that there is never enough time to do all that we want to do. I can certainly identify with that.

In a research project, Ipsos, a global marketing research firm, announced that 64 percent of Americans were most likely to agree with the statement, "There is never enough time in the day to get done what I want to get done." And it's not only Americans who feel this way. It's just the same in my homeland of Australia.

Gordon Govier, a journalist working with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship wrote, "When Charles Hummel wrote his classic essay 'Tyranny of the Urgent,' in 1967, he identified the telephone as among the worst offenders against our peace and complacency. And that was before we carried the offending instrument with us everywhere and embellished it with email, computers, cameras, downloadable ring tones and music files.

"The issue," Hummel said, "is not so much a shortage of time as a problem of priorities." Or, as a cotton mill manager once told him, "Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important."2

How true this is.

Like Jesus we, too, in the midst of our busy schedules, also need to come apart and rest awhile—before we come apart.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to realize that there is a time to do the things I need to do today. Help me to keep my priorities straight, put first things first, and do what I need to do and let the rest go. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV).
2. Gordon Govier, "Handling the Tyranny of the Urgent," Assist News Service,


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.

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