Friday, November 22, 2013

Human Beings Are Not "Doings"

Perhaps the clearest proof of universal human irrationality is that every thinking person has an answer to the question, "What is one thing you know better than to do, and routinely do anyway?" My own answer is one given by many a busy American: Trying to finish all the "tasks" I can, as fast as I can, at the expense of both immediate self-pacing and a focus on tasks of long-term value. More than one Christian author has made his or her name with a book about this syndrome: look up Joanna Weaver, Richard A. Swenson, or Bill Hybels and "Too Busy Not to Pray," for starters.

How near-impossible is it for the average well-meaning Christian to overcome the idea that, for all God loves us in our imperfection, His actual pleasure with us depends on how much we do? We tend to assume that God's opinion of us is identical with our opinions of ourselves; and, ironically enough, those who do the most are often the least satisfied with what they accomplish. Like the anorexic dieter living by the motto "I'll know when I've lost enough weight because all my problems will disappear," the workaholic may be adamantly convinced she's not doing "enough" when she's already gone far beyond healthy limits. 

And the workaholic "doing all this for God" is all too often deafened to Jesus saying, as He said to Martha centuries ago: "You're wearing yourself out with worry, trying to respond to every perceived need, angry at everyone else for not making your self-inflicted burdens easier. I don't want your achievements; I want your attention." Our inclination to assume we instantly recognize what "must" be done--without consulting God first--is a quick path to overload and all the attendant frustration.

As the famous quote says, "We are human beings, not human doings." In the coming Advent season, take some time to just BE--to be quiet, to be relaxed and at peace, to be alone with God.

God created human beings
That in Him we might rejoice,
Yet we live as human “doings,”
Far too rushed to hear His voice.
Brother, sister, cease your striving,
Put aside your frantic rush;
Pause and hear your Master speaking
In the still small voice of hush.

God created human beings
First to share His perfect love,
Yet we live as human “doings,”
Minds below and not above.
Brother, sister, stop and realize
Mere “achievement” counts for naught;
Not your works, but adoration
Is the offering God will want.

Human beings are not “doings”;
God is not a lord of tasks;
No, He wants to walk beside us,
And our love is all He asks.
For our Master’s yoke is gentle,
And His heart is kind and true;
When you give your heart to Jesus,
He will show you what to do!