Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quote from the Road

[what's brewing: something for the road]

This week I am on the move – away from home and the many things that fill my days. Being away from usual things often frees my mind up to contemplate other things, even if my hours are quickly filled, just as full, with different things. Before boarding my plane, I came across this quote and jotted it down in my journal. I thought I’d share it with you today as it seems to reflect the tension we are all faced with in a life of ministry: being vs. doing.

Thomas Merton said:

We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have - for their usefulness.

What would you say to him?

13 comments:

Ashley L. said...

Great quote. I hadn't heard it before, but it is pretty much the summary of what brought me to the point of accepting Christ. I subconsciously believed that what I did was what made me valuable, and as I failed in those things and questioned my worth, God graciously showed me that it is who I am in Him and through His saving grace that gives me worth.

Missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras said...

Interesting. Can I say, let us be both? Being - who we are - being with our savior. But what are we? If we are creatures of our Savior, then we are good fruits. Christ is who He is - the Son of God - but what He did and what He was/is was a testament to who God is. How we live our lives - and what we do with it is also a testament of who and what and where we are with Christ. But I guess where I get "hooked" up on his quote is his word "obsessed". So yes, if one is obsessed about things...works...then one loses the focus of who and what we are with Christ.

Ellie said...

The quote made me smile. Last year, I went to visit friends in another country. After the first day, they began discussing what we should do.

I told them that I had seen parts of their country before, and I hadn't come here to do, but just to be.

I've been so caught up with doing several times, too. There are those in our leadership who are at times caught up in it. It has meant some problems are not addressed early on in lives because as long as we are still doing, then we are useful. It is as if our usefulness is more important than our lives.

What I have found, though, is that when I am less obsessed with my doing, and have time to be - to be with God, to be with myself, to be with others, just being, reflecting - that is when what I am doing usually works better anyway. I'm more confident, more assured of my value, listening to God more. And then, the doing that I am doing just "does" better.

Ellie said...

Oh, and I think that may be where much of our loneliness and emptiness comes from. We too often relate to each other on a "what are you doing" level and not on a "who are you being" level. We begin to feel other's acceptance of us is then because of our usefulness and not because of them liking us. It leaves room for the fear, "if they really knew who I was...."

sorry for the long comments. :(

Grammy said...

being ...smelling the flowers watching a bird build a nest...of corse I'm still in language school but I'm praying "work " won't take us off course of being for Him.

Grammy said...

sorry for the spelling mishaps can't think in English or Spanish

Becky Aguirre said...

I agree with above comments...Ashley, in that I believed that as well and have grown in this area, PTL, it is so freeing!...Erin, you have a great point in that it's the obsession with the 'doing' that's the problem; you are right, God calls us to good works, as an outpouring of who we are in Christ.

Ellie, I like your comments, long though they may be! :D LOL! Your second comment caught my attention, too, that probably does contribute to a fear of openness and sharing when we don't feel valued for who we are...

Libby said...

I think this thought of not being obsessed with "doing" fits with what my husband and I have been studying a lot about lately. Somehow we got the idea that in our Christian walk we need to do, do, do in order for God to be happy with us.Just as we trusted Christ and realized like Ashley said that it is who we are in Him and through His saving grace that gives us worth, so it is in our Christian walk. We (in and of ourselves, in our own strength) cannot be more acceptable to Him by doing more. It is instead letting go of whatever we are trying so hard to do in our own strength and just "being" in Him, letting HIM take control and do whatever thing there is to do FOR US.
Someone said, "Jesus Christ is the only one who ever really lived the Christian life". I came to a point not too long ago where I had being "doing" and striving so hard and so much that I crashed. But God allowed it to let me realize that I CAN'T do it. "I" can't live the Christian life. I can't do it on my own. I never could. But HE CAN and I can rest in Him ("be" in Him) and let him "do" anything and everything FOR me. It's a whole new world for me.
So while I would say to the vote up there that I would definitely tend to "do", I am learning and realize that in Christ I can "be" and it's a great place to BE. :)
Thanks for sharing that quote!

malianta said...

What shall I say? I am on the journey - to being and less doing.

malianta said...

By the way, there is a great book on the topic that I can highly recommend: The Power of Being: for people who do too much. by Christian R. Komor.

malianta said...

Just found that - a perfect fit with the this week's topic:
http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/670/

tschiller said...

Great quote. This is a hard one to live by. It seems so easy to accept in theory, but when the Lord takes all significance away from doing and leaves me with being, it forces me to see who I really am. It forces me to see what reality is, what the truth is, what the Kingdom of God is. Am I willing to let it all go to follow the Lord? Am I willing to trust that He is reality? If not, than all I'm left with is doing, but if I believe the Lord, all I'm left with is being.

E. T. Tenna said...

Alas, doing overrides being too often for me. Tonight I decided to put off visiting my housekeeper's sick husband in the nearby hospital, instead letting myself be side-tracked into writing a couple posts for my own blog. That finished I came here to read, and am struck by my preference to 'do', rather than sit and 'be' with sick people and their sorrowing family members.

So...this comment posted, I'm leaving my laptop, and going over to the hospital to visit. Thanks for a timely post, Coffeegirl.

:D

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...