The mail arrives and on the outside of two envelopes is the word URGENT in red. It grabs your attention so you involuntarily look closer. It quickly becomes obvious that the communication is from a company that knows only your name and address. URGENT is a device to get your attention in the hopes of getting you to take seriously the contents of the envelope.
What creates a sense of urgency in you? Being late for a meeting or appointment? Waiting for test results from the doctor? Need to get a check in the mail for a bill that’s due?
We are inundated with messages of urgency through advertising, the news, email updates. We have to sort through what is authentically urgent for each of us. God forbid we throw away the one envelope that really is urgent. Because we are bombarded with urgent messages we grow desensitized to what is genuinely urgent, like our salvation.
There’s a can of worms: salvation. It means different things to different people. For some people it means getting to heaven after you die. For others it means being saved from a destructive lifestyle in the here and now. How about this; our salvation is our relationship with God. Do we have any sense of urgency about our relationship with God?
When two people fall in love, they have a sense of urgency to be with one another. Christian mystics have throughout the centuries written of a relationship with God in this way, of falling in love with God and wanting nothing else. We may not be head over heels in love with God, but is God even a passing interest in our lives?
As I’ve wrestled with Sunday’s scripture, Luke 16:1-13, I’ve wondered about this sense of urgency. The parable is about a steward who forgives large portions of debt that clients owe his master in order to secure his future. We get so stuck on what Luke calls this “dishonesty” that we miss an urgent teaching. Are we willing to secure our own future with God? What will we bring to the table so we can share in the feast of God’s kingdom? Do we have a sense of urgency for a relationship with God enough that would cause us to change some behavior so we could serve God more fully? Or are we content to simply “believe” and call it day?