Doing as Being or Being Lost in the Woods

Do you feel as if you must always be “doing” something? We live hectic lives. We sometimes cram as much into them as we can, on the go from the minute we awake until our head hits the pillow again. Going. Doing. Doing and Going. When will be get to rest? The truth is that some of us do not really desire a chance to “rest” very much. Sure, we want to get caught up on our sleep, but to become inactive? That’s hard.

Current phenomenon: Seniors on Social Security and pensions returning to the workforce. Why? Sometimes it is economic necessity, but not always. Observation by sociologists is that people retire to do what they have always wanted to do (travel, garden, golf, write, read, etc.,) but after a couple of years, they have done what they wanted to do. They are ready to work again.

You see, we think doing is being. I am what I do. With apologies to Descartes: I do, therefore I am. So, when I slow down and don’t do anything, I cease to be. Of course, this is not true. We are only partially defined by what we do. We are primarily defined by our relationship to our Creator, the one who made us in his image.

The Bible teaches these things about human beings:

  • God created us. We are not the result of random forces of nature.
  • God created us in his image. We are created to be capable of personal, intimate fellowship with God.
  • God created us to love us. We were not created to be objects of God’s wrath, but of his love and care.
  • We have ruined our relationship with God by our disobedience, our sin. It might have been eating a forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden, or that day when we realized God’s will and said, “No, I will not obey you!”

NRS Isaiah 53:6a: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way …

It is as if we are lost in the woods, and we cannot find our way back to God. We are in too deep, the night is coming, it’s cold, the wind is coming up, it looks like rain and we don’t have any rain gear. We are in big trouble. We will die in the woods. We will die without God, our Father.

The Bible teaches us this about God’s solution

God must find us. God must save us. God must provide the way out of the dark, evil woods of death. We cannot save ourselves.

NRS Isaiah 53:6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

New Testament image: Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, the human embodiment of God, has come to lead us out of the woods. He says, “Follow me!” Trust me. Believe me. Believe in me. I will show you the way out.

What do we do? If doing is being, what is our part in this rescue from the dark, evil, deadly forest of sin?

  1. Choice #1: We do nothing. We stay lost. We spurn God’s offer of rescue, of salvation, of being led home. This will not work. We cannot remain passive and get out of the woods.
  2. Choice #2: We follow Jesus out of the woods. In doing this, we are not saving ourselves. We cannot save ourselves. We are not being clever. We are not gaming the system and finding a shortcut. We are doing the only possible thing that can lead us to salvation.

So may our doing be following when it comes to God. May our resting be secure in our faith that the Father has not abandoned us, but has sent his own Son to lead us out of the valley of death.

Mark Krause
Nebraska Christian College

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