‘Do’ or ‘Be’?

Shakespeare’s Hamlet contains the main character’s famous soliloquy, “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” Yet, in church life, many of us are always trying to do more. We want a program or activity to feed us or solve our problems. We look to consultants to tell us how to change. We read books on church growth or management. We brainstorm about solving the problems related to the end of Christendom.

Arrangements, activities, to-do lists, action logs, plans—these are all good. They have a place in the life of the church. Without planning and action, nothing happens. As we look to the future, we have to plan. We have to do things.

For instance, at my church, we have vacation Bible school (VBS) next week. Without fastidious planning, it would be chaos. We can give thanks to God for our children’s ministry coordinator and all of her hard work. We can be thankful for all of the volunteers. And, we can give our time to help make VBS a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

Our walk with Christ is not limited to what we do. When Jesus visited Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, Martha focused her attention on doing good work for him. Mary sat at his feet and listened. She soaked in his words like a sponge. By the tone of Martha’s response, we get the sense that Mary was simply being in the presence of the Lord.

How often do we set aside our actions in order to be in God’s presence? Being in God’s presence does not mean staying away from church. We come, worship, pray, sing, and focus our attention on God. We can be in God’s presence by being fully present at worship or as a VBS volunteer. We can let our lives reflect the sense of being with God.

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