For my entire life I have enjoyed a television classic that has capture many hearts over the years. It inspired some to wear ascotts, made jinkies an acceptable phrase, showed us that minivans can be cool if they have a sweet name, and properly illustrated that dog is man's best friend. For those of you who were entertainment depraved as children or just really poor at picking up subtle hints, the show i'm describing is of course Scooby-Doo.
The basis of the show was this gang of meddling kids with their very lovable dog would encounter and subsequently solve mysteries such as who was haunting the old museum. In every episode though, there would come a point in which we as the audience could see the villain lurking nearby ready to pounce even though the mystery gang had no clue. As bucktoothed, Velcro shoe wearing, bowl cut sporting kids most of us wanted to scream "watch out!!!". Much to our frustration they didn't listen to us.... primarily because they couldn't hear us and inevitably they would run face to face with bad men themselves.
A similar experience can happen for all of us in life whether we be in ministry, working a 9-5, even for those who find themselves in the career purgatory known as college; we can be walking along doing life thinking everything is great not knowing there is a hidden monster lurking in the background of our lives waiting to snatch us. Hopefully this post can be a SHOUT that for once the ones it was meant for will hear and follow.
This hidden monster in our lives is often just "doing". Some of you are probably like "Wait, what?", please allow me to explain... In everything from Nike commercials telling us to "just do it" to the corporate ladder which promises us if we work hard enough we will climb up the ladder the underflow theme of the american dream is that in everything we must DO! So our lives often become centered around these questions "What do I need to do?" "What are you doing?" or even " What should I be doing?".
Eager Reader- "But Dustin you still haven't told us why this is dangerous"
Dustin- "Ah but here it comes"
The true danger of this comes when in all the hustle and bustle of doing we forget who we really are. As a wise mentor of mine told me once "Dustin we aren't human doings we are human beings". Therefore we have to remember to take time to simply be with God. As I have experienced it is very easy to slip into the mold of the mindset that we are so busy "doing for God" whether it be ministry, attempting to be a light in the workplace, or studying for the work He has called us to, that we forget that God has not called us to do for Him but rather to live alongside Him.
In Luke 10:41- 42 Jesus himself addresses this tension "But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
The very real risk that comes from this monster is that it is often hidden in the hearts of very well meaning Christians in the form of diligence or dedication to serving the Lord. Don't get me wrong those things are extremely vital, but at the very core of the Gospel is that God calls us first to Himself then from Him we go out. Too often we get so caught up going out, and "living on mission" that we forget God desires for us to come back to Him and rest in Him (Matthew 11:28).
This is NOT an invitation for laziness or apathy so for those couch surfers reading this remember that after Jesus summoned the disciples to Himself He would then send them out. My friend this is not an either or lifestyle but rather a both and (Matt Orth if you're reading this I know you would smile). We must both be with God while also serving Him. The danger that lurks is that too often we focus on the latter while neglecting the first.
Eager Reader -"So Dustin what do we do about it?
Dustin- "I'm so glad you asked"
In a world where the christian often looks to the new (new workout plan. new diet, new david platt book, new passion conference..... Etc) the answer actually originates from an extremely old concept: "The sabbath". The sabbath was created by God for man as a time for man to rest while intentionally spending a day focusing their attention to being with God. If God created it... there was probably a good reason for it and I believe among many others it provides antidote to the self induced poison of doing doing doing.
I'm not saying that everyone should take a day off and do nothing but pray while serving the other 6 days. Rather I'm saying quite the opposite, I'm saying that we should be serving everyday while setting time aside to first and foremost intentionally abiding with God.
Exodus 33:14 "And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest."
Let's not get caught by the lurking monster of "doing without being" but rather let us be as the old Tomlin song goes "a generation that seeks, seeks your face O God of Jacob."