Read Psalm 70
Focus on verse 1
As I reflect on some of the years I spent in church ministry, I suspect there were some extended periods of time where I was a victim of the tyranny of the urgent. For those who may not be familiar with the term “the tranny of the urgent”, this is most often a self-inflicted condition. Administration and time management are not characteristics that one might consider natural strengths of my personality, so these were areas that I have had to learn how to manage over the years. When one is weak in these areas it tends to predispose a person to this tyranny of the urgent. The way it works is that because I tended not to plan well in advance, deadlines would sneak up on me and cause me to go into crisis mode. The ministry I was in at the time often involved having multiple projects going simultaneously, which resulted in multiple seemingly urgent demands on my time, hence the tyranny of the urgent controlled my life.
What I found was key in overthrowing this time tyrant was recognizing the nature of the tasks on my schedule. I found that if I could discern between the things that were important and things that were not so important I could rank the important things with a higher priority. Further I began to recognize some of these things were urgent, while others really had not definitive deadline. When I began to recognize and prioritize the tasks that were urgent AND important, and then follow those with tasks that were important even though they were not urgent, there began to be less instances where I found it necessary to go into crisis mode. The other thing I noticed is that some of the not so important urgent things were either taken care of by someone else, or just dissipated into the office mist.
In todays reading we find David in one of his moments of urgency. I suspect that during the time that he was running from Saul he had a few of these. When David faced urgent situations he consistently called on the Lord for help. “Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!” (v. 1) This was likely not the first time he had been in a situation where if God did not do something – his life would be at risk. As I reflect on David’s life, it strikes me that David had learned to recognize the difference between that which was urgent and that which was important. One thing that he knew was important was to give praise to God in all circumstance. “May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! (v. 4)