The 2017 MLB playoffs are underway, and last night the Yankees knocked out the Twins 8-4 in a one game Wild-Card round. Tonight the Rockies take on the Diamondbacks in another win and advance scenario.

With the rest of the playoffs being the best-of-five or best-of-seven series, the pressure and excitement in the Wild-Card round is uniquely evident.

Baseball’s regular season is long, and teams can be patient throughout, but now the mindset for the managers and players has to be based on urgency. There’s not the same amount of time to bounce back and adjust.

However, last night the Yankees demonstrated that they could respond to decisions that needed to be made quickly. After the Twins jumped out 3-0 in the first inning, Yankees manager Joe Girardi pulled his ace starting pitcher, Luis Severino, and immediately went to his bullpen.

Severino got off to a surprisingly bad start by giving up two homers to the first four batters he faced. He was able to only get one out and Girardi had seen enough.

In many cases, this would be way too early to take out a good pitcher because the expectation would be he’d turn things around as the game got going. But Girardi managed with a sense of urgency, and boldly followed his instincts to the bullpen.

This ended up being a wise decision, as the relievers came in and struck out 12 batters, tying a regulation postseason record. The Yankees went on to score 8 runs and only gave up one the rest of the way.

In sports and life, patience is valued and making rash decisions can be very costly. But there are times when patience turns into procrastination, which then leads to missed opportunities.

Girardi sensed his team needed a boost after a bad start. Instead of waiting, he chose to make a move he believed was best for his guys.

His sense of urgency can be a great challenge for us today. In situations similar to a “Wild-Card game,” when there isn’t a next time or another chance, we need to recognize the importance of making knowledgeable choices.

As followers of Jesus, we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us with our convictions. When we submit our lives to God through Jesus, He gives us His spirit to help us make wise decisions.

Romans 8:14 tells us, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

Oftentimes we feel a nudge or a pull to do something specific that is coming from Him, but we get scared or come up with countless excuses in our head not to proceed.

These are the times when we shouldn’t delay and should operate with a sense of urgency. If God is with us and clearly pointing us in a certain direction, we can have great confidence to step forward, obey, and even make a tough choice.

The Bible says in Psalm 90:12 (ESV), “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 119:60 (NLT) encourages us with these words: “I will hurry, without delay, to obey Your commands.”

Today, our “wild-card urgency” may involve the need to share our faith with someone…speak truth in love…choose obedience over sin…or get out of our comfort zone.

For many things in our lives, the time is now. I hope we’re encouraged to GO FOR IT, so opportunities don’t pass us by!

I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray that I would have a spirit-led sense of urgency in life. I pray I’d still operate with proper wisdom and patience, but when faced with situations that need quick decisions, help me trust Your leading and guiding. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.