I am writing this near the midnight hour from the basement of our house, watching the reds and purples of the radar flash across the screen. Admittedly, I am fascinated by the meteorological world. If I hadn’t gone into ministry, I think I would have liked to have been a weather guy. I’ve watched enough during severe weather to know a little of the lingo – hook echo = bad news; hail core = I hope the car is in the garage; EF5 Tornado = Time to pray.
Today’s weather events have left me with a certain amount of uneasiness. Watching the recap of the events from the day has been like watching a slideshow of my life – from leveled fast-food restaurants in Ringgold, GA where I got my first job; to the damage at Shorter College, where Heather and I earned our undergraduate degrees; to mile-wide tornado in downtown Tuscaloosa, AL, where we spent three years in seminary. The only problem is that the news feels more like a movie, because what I am seeing looks NOTHING like what I remember.
As the death toll continues to rise around the region, I am yet again reminded of the urgency of our task as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We simply do not have time to waste.
As we begin working through the Gospel of Mark, there is a word that appears frequently throughout the text. That word, “immediately,” is most often used to describe the actions of our Lord. It suggests that Jesus was constantly active and constantly working and He didn’t waste any time doing unnecessary activity. Jesus’ ministry model was one of urgency. As citizens of the Kingdom, do we view our work with the same level of urgency?
The truth is that though Jesus tells us to be Kingdom-minded people, busy about making disciples, we are prone to drag our feet. We form committees, and we have discussions, and we have conventions. The simple fact of the matter is that Jesus’ ministry model was based on having conversations with people that He encountered along His journey. In Mark 6, Jesus sent his disciples out by pairs into the villages to proclaim the Kingdom, He didn’t give them any strategy other than to talk to the people they encountered. If you are Kingdom-minded, then you have no problem doing just that, talking about the Kingdom with the waiter, the receptionist, the neighbor across the street. That’s how we think!
If you were standing in the parking lot and you saw a tornado plowing toward you, you wouldn’t waste any time telling other people to get out of the way. When Ken Cook said that Coweta County was under a tornado warning and that the center of rotation was coming up I-85, we wasted no time getting the boys out of bed and setting up shop in the basement. There was a real sense of urgency.
What if we handled the Kingdom with that same attitude?