As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “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.”
~ Luke 10:38-42
Singaporeans ranked first in a study on how fast people walk, conducted in 31 countries more than a decade ago. Truly, this reflected life in a fast-paced, high-pressured and highly urbanised society like Singapore, which also explains why many in our midst are calling for us to slow down our pace and to cut down on the amount of activities we are involved in. Instead of losing ourselves in "doing", let us take time to enjoy "being" ourselves. Similarly, many in the Church have begun to oppose “doing” and emphasise the cultivation of our "being. An oft-quoted story from the Bible is the visit of our Lord Jesus to the home of his friends in Bethany. Martha was busy doing the necessary in the kitchen while Mary was simply being still, sitting at the feet of Jesus. And since Jesus commended Mary, we should learn to be like her, to cease from doing and simply be still before Jesus.
But I believe God never intended for us to pit "doing" against "being". Rather, He wants us to learn to "do" and to "be" so that we can "become". Both doing and being are necessary so that we can become all that God wants us to be. In fact, God’s promise to work for our good in all things is for the purpose of helping us become all that he has destined for us – to be like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). This is the “growth” paradigm that God wants us to adopt: we are to pay attention to both our “being” and our “doing” so that we can become more and more Christlike.
Unless we have this vision of becoming, we will fall into the trap of pitting "doing" against "being". So if you are tired of doing and just want to simply be; or if you are impatient with sitting still and want to be doing something; remember we don't have to choose one from the other. Instead, in all things, we are to learn to be and do the best we can to become more and more Christlike.
Rev. David Lee