If you know me personally, you will have heard me mention my sister who has in the last few years become a New Creation in Christ. And when someone describes what it looks like to be “on fire for the Lord,” you can just insert her name. I just LOVE being around her so I can be lit by the flame.
Since becoming a New Creation, she’s signed up and volunteered for more things than I have in the number of years I would have considered myself a New Creation. She is a “Do-er.” I, on the other hand, am a “Be-er.”
What is a do-er and a be-er (hyphens needed so you don’t think I’m a Budweiser)? A do-er is action-oriented, where a be-er is contemplative. A do-er wants to make things happen. A be-er wants to go over the pros and cons to make sure it’s done right. And when it comes to exercise, my sister takes Tae-Bo, and I much prefer Yoga. Get the picture.
So which is better? Ha ha! That was a trick question. The answer is neither.
In our culture we tend to favor do-ers. They get things done. I love these people! But what of the other? Well, the answer to this question can be found in … you guessed it, the Bible. In Luke 10:38-42 we are told that when Jesus came to the house of Mary and Martha, and Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet rather than help Martha prepare the meal, Mary had chosen what was best. Mary was the be-er in this situation. She wanted to “be with” her Lord when she had the opportunity. In fact, isn’t that what God wants of us? To be in relationship with Him.
Listening to my sister talk, excitedly, about all the things she is doing, I grew concerned that she would burn herself out. So I sent her an email with the verses on Mary and Martha in the hope she’d get the message. She wanted to know which one I thought she was. Oh boy! Later, she told me God must really be laying this message on her heart because her pastor devoted a sermon to it recently, and when she listened to the recording of the sermon, it got stuck in the CD changer in her car, available at any moment for her to listen to again and again … as she drove off to complete one task or another.
So can you take the “Mary Thing” a little too far? If you ever visited my home you would be inclined to believe—Yes! I joke that my kitchen floor crunches when you walk on it (this is where all you do-ers cringe!) When I told my mother about the conversation I’d had with my sister on this topic, she laughed in such a way as to tell me she wished I had a little more Martha in me. Oh yeah? Well me too!
But before I expound on Martha’s gifts, let me just clarify. If you ever have the choice between doing the dishes and being with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christ-Thing should always win. And though sometimes being with family who needs you is another form of being with Christ, sometimes Christ is not the other choice at all. For instance, maybe I should (finally) sweep my kitchen floor rather than read that Romance novel (even if it is a Christian one). What was that, honey? Oh, my husband just shouted, “Amen!” (This is where I stifle the urge to say “Do it yourself!”). Yes, and maybe I should sign up to help the homeless rather than watch one of the “Housewives of …” Reality shows.
James 2:14-17 tells us faith without deeds is dead. We just need to make sure our deeds are not done without consulting God and inviting Him into the process of sharing our good works. Otherwise these deeds will glorify us and not the God we meant them to.
So my question is, was Jesus a Be-er or a Do-er? You should know how to answer this by now. He was both! After all, He is complete. If you read of His life, you will see He spent long hours in solitude with His Father. You will also see He spent much time teaching and healing. And though Jesus is our example, we should also recognize how God has gifted us and has left us weak. This allows us to see where we need to challenge ourselves, but also who to align ourselves with. If you are a be-er, find a do-er who will inspire you and implement the ideas you’ve brought to the table. If you are a do-er, find a be-er who will help you design and evaluate your plans while bringing God into them.
Both of these things are essential. Be-ers without do-ers get nothing done. They have lots of ideas, know how they will work, all the pros and cons, but never put them into action. Do-ers without be-ers get lots of things done, but to no purpose. They end up exhausted, having checked off their entire list, and not yet achieved the ultimate goal.
But together, they are part of the Body of Christ. As I said before, Christ is complete. We are each parts of His Body and can only work best when we work together and appreciate His other parts.