I wonder if one of the struggles we have in this “being” vs “doing” discussion is that so many of us struggle with performance love — this feeling that if I don’t measure up I won’t be loveable. If I don’t perform I won’t be loved. If I live in a shack and don’t have much to show for all my work, I will be alone. So we strive to earn love. (By the way that’s one of those “things” that won’t satisfy — trying to earn love.)
So when we suggest to someone that they need to stop focusing on their activity for Jesus and start fueling their adoration of Jesus, what we might be saying, is you don’t have to earn the love of Jesus. To that I say — yes! We do not need to earn and would never be able to earn the love of Jesus.
But what if our motivation for “doing” is not to earn the love of Jesus but to show our love for Jesus? That is the right kind of doing. In fact maybe I would go so far as to say that we cannot “be” in love with Jesus unless we “do” love Jesus. In other words love is a verb. Imagine a husband who never does anything for his wife in the attempt to show her that he loves her so much he would just rather be with her, than do for her.
There is this interesting teaching from Jesus in John 15. It goes like this…
12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Jesus is distinguishing between servants and friends. I think we could agree that servant has more of a “doing” flavor and friend has more of a “being” flavor. But notice this, the distinction between friend and servant is not a lack of doing. In fact both the servant and the friend “do what Jesus commands.” The difference is that a friend knows more; there is greater intimacy between friends.
Jesus offers us this intimacy. We don’t have to earn it, but if we embrace it we will “do” what Jesus commands. Jesus told Martha that “only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen the best thing.” She was doing what Jesus wanted her to do. So what is the one thing you need to be doing right now? Are you doing that? If not, the “being” is going to be less than satisfying.