Yesterday, I finished my last day of work up here in North West NSW. We’ve finished cotton harvest, planted our winter crop and prepped the ground for next summer. It’s the end of one of the busiest times of the year.

As I sit in front of the fire, I watch a new born lamb frolic in the back paddock and contemplate a Stephen Covey quote: “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

In agriculture, there’s always things to do. The jobs don’t end and when it’s busy, it’s flat out. It’s not uncommon to work 100 hours in a week when we’re going full steam. When you’re caught up in 14 hour, 7 day working week, keeping the important things in sight can be a challenge.

Gurus class urgent tasks in a ‘firefighting’ category and Important tasks as growth. When we look at it that way, if we’re always fighting fires, we’re experiencing limited growth!

Do you work hard, earn a good wage, eat well, drink tasty wines, buy nice clothing and feel like you’re struggling to get ahead in life? Don’t worry, it’s not a new problem. People were feeling the same way 2,500 years ago. The culprit? Loosing focus of what’s really important.

Check out this message that God shares though the prophet Haggai to the people of Judah (Haggai 1: 5 – 9):

Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! Look at what’s happening to you!

Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses.

Woah. What an ‘Oh Snap’ moment! This particular story references an event in 520BC but it’s something that’s still relatable in our world today.

My foundation is on Christ and I try really hard to see that the example of Jesus is reflected in how I live my life. Jesus was the chief when it came to putting important things before the urgent. Jesus’ plan of attack was about relationships. ‘God first, people second’

For me, getting caught up in urgent tasks has held me back from the growth (spiritual and non-spiritual) required to achieve my goals (one of which is meeting a potential wife!).

What important things have you neglected to the urgent?