Jan. 4, 2012
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
One of the aspects of Christianity that I’ve struggled with is the “doing” versus the “being” roles.
Here is how I view the difference. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he clearly told the disciples that it was now their responsibility to carry on the things he had taught them. They were to become the voices and doers of the ministry he had laid out before them. Jesus couldn’t remain on earth forever. Now, the disciples were instructed to make disciples, baptize and teach other folks.
This is the “doing” part of the gospel.
Yet, Jesus was very clear about how important it was to “be” with God. That’s why he regularly set aside time to just “be” with God. This is also what he tried to get Martha to focus upon. In Luke 10:38-42, Martha was upset because Jesus and the disciples came to her and Mary’s house unannounced. We see Martha scurrying around, getting her guest’s feet washed, a meal prepared, making sure they are comfortable and have something to drink.
She gets very irritated with her sister, Mary, who makes no effort to help out. In pure disgust, Martha asks Jesus to instruct Mary to help her with all the household work! Jesus simply laughs at Martha. He says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” In essence, Jesus tells Martha to forget about everything and simply “be” like Mary – sitting at his feet, taking in all that he is sharing.
This is the “being” part of the gospel.
For me, there is a big tension between the two. When do I do? When do I be?
Most people tend to be either more Martha or more Mary. I am a self-defined doer. I was raised to be a Martha. I live this way and will probably be this way until I die. I make no excuses for this. The problem is that too often I focus on the doing and not enough on the being.
The last few days, I have tried to not be so driven by what I do. Yep, I’m not getting the work done that I feel I should be. But it also feels good to let my soul rest. I haven’t had any great revelations about my spiritual, professional, emotional or mental being. I did not really expect it. What I need is a little time to be in God’s Spirit; to move at a slower clip; to not get so caught up in “doing” and ignoring my need to “be.”
There is always plenty to do. If we wait for the clear spots to suddenly appear on our calendars to “be,” I’m not sure they will appear. We are the ones that adjust the tension between the two. I clearly know there are times when I need to be in high production. These times must be countered with spaces of “being” or I loose focus on Who I’m doing this for. Without the “being,” the “doing” becomes a lot more about my abilities and talents and successes than why I’m even doing the doing.
How do you manage this tension? If you’ve discovered a secret or two about balancing the “doing” with the “being,” I’d love to hear them. Meanwhile, I ask Jesus to guide my “doing” and my “being.”
Let us pray: O let the Son of God enfold you with his Spirit and his love. Let him fill your heart and satisfy your soul. O let him have the things that hold you, and his Spirit like a dove will descend upon your life and make you whole. Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs. Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs.