THE TYRANNY OF THE URGENT by Charles E. Hummel (FAN AND FLAME Book Reviews)


The Tyranny of the Urgent by Charles E. Hummel (IVP Books, ‘Revised & enlarged edition’ April 19, 1994; 31 pages)

A friend gave me this little booklet about 3 months ago. I was going to read it right away, but … well … I think you know where this is going.

Tyranny of the Urgent!
By Charles E. Hummel

The central thesis is this: most people have lives devoured by “the urgent” but not necessarily important, and this is so to such an extent that we neglect the truly important.

My copy of the booklet states that it was originally published in 1967 and “updated and expanded” in ’94. This makes the author’s comments about the “invasion of the telephone” all the more true of our smartphones.

I do not agree with every statement, (e.g., “The worst sin is prayerlessness”), but I did very much appreciate the counsel on time-management, perhaps analogous to Dave Ramsey’s financial budgeting, for those familiar.

But what I found most helpful, convicting, and encouraging were the reflections upon Jesus’ life and the Bible verses about how Jesus “completed his Father’s will.”

Did “completing” mean that Jesus healed every sick person, or cast out every demon, or preached in every village? No, it didn’t. But he did his Father’s will for him, and that was enough. And it should be our aim as well—a freeing, not crushing, ambition.

So what’s the main takeaway? It’s this: what is important in life rarely dances on the coffee table and tells you she is so. And if she does, it’s probably too late. Better listen while she whispers.