be: Red Letter Challenge

There are many types of people in the world, though if I had to lump everyone in just two boxes I’d assign some to a box labeled “Be.” and the rest to a box labeled “Do.”

Yes, overly simplistic. Yes, there are a bazillion nuances to people and no one fits in just one “box.” Yes. Yes. Yes. I hear you.

The point isn’t to actually label people, but to think about the tension I have experienced between wanting to be and the drive to do.

For some to “be” is easy. They find rest that isn’t laziness, a presence that is undemanding, and space to enjoy the now.

Others find to “do” the preferred course. Participating in life means activity and production and accomplishment.

Both are needed and healthy. (I’ll be posting about what it means for me to “do” tomorrow.)

In seminary, we considered the the cycle of action and reflection. It was less important where you started so long as you included the other. Acting without reflecting is to abandon the possibility to correct our course, choose better or different actions, or to consider the consequences of our actions. Reflecting without acting is at best a metal game we play and at worst a vain navel-gazing, pondering the universe without ever attempting to participate in it.

For all that, I am growing increasing convinced, to “be” is where I need to spend more time. Especially, I need to just be with Jesus.

How to do it is the question.

I consider how I would “be” with my wife, Catherine.

I could study her genealogy. I could discover the etymology of her name. I could read stories about her. I could scroll through photos I have taken of her. I could listen to those who know her describe what she’s like and who she is to them. I could make a list of all the titles she has attributed to her. I could rattle off all the adjectives I’d use to describe her. I could visit the places she has been. I could sit and imagine spending time with her.

I could do all this and more. The best thing I could do, would be to spend time in her presence. I could actually be with her.

My wife doesn’t want me to research and study about her. She doesn’t want me to know her primarily through the experiences of others. She doesn’t want me to attend a lecture about her. She wants to spend time with me.

Isn’t it the same with Jesus?

Be with Jesus. Just be. Spend time listening and talking. Share the intimacy of silence. Sure we can read scripture and listen to sermons and follow someone’s prayers, but let us not settle for studying and thinking about Jesus and miss actually being with Jesus.

My wife would never go for me just studying about her and calling it a relationship. Jesus, is more patient, but I have to imagine he also desires time with us. Perhaps as I learn to be, as you learn to be, we might decide it is less important to know the Greek words used for love and instead just spend time with the One who is love.

Life is better together,
Shawn

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