As you read this, where is your soul with the Lord? What spiritual state are you in? And I want to know the force of these questions for myself. So I ask: where am I at with the Lord? To develop these thoughts I want to muse upon the interaction between doing and dwelling.
It is good to be active for the Lord. It is good to be among those who spend and be spent in arduous service for the Master. There is much to do; many have not been evangelised, many have not been instructed in the ways of the Lord. many are lonely, many are suffering. We need to be those who willingly and devotedly expend ourselves for the benefit of others in the Lord’s Name. However, the great danger is that we are ever flowing in service for the Master without ever asking the Master how and where He wants us to serve. We see a need and just respond. Should we not consult the Master first?
But there is a further danger and that is that we get serving without getting the energy to serve. The energy to serve comes to those who take time to dwell with the Lord, look upon the face of the Master and contemplate His glory. One the dangers of our age is that of activism. We must be up and doing. This is good, But doing without dwelling soon leads to drudgery. If we are not knowing the Master through dwelling with Him then we will not be fruitful. As our Lord said in John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
Where is the tendency among us to spend time stopping and beholding the beauty of the Lord. As I mention these things I am drawn to the comparison of Martha and Mary. Martha was the activist; Mary was the contemplative one. The Lord’s summary observation about them as He spoke to Martha was “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.” (Luke 10:41b-42).
The danger is that we start to think that the contemplative person tends towards inactivity and achieving nothing. But that is not the case. The one who stops to contemplate the beauty of the Lord will want to serve the Lord and on account of being more in the presence of the Master will tend to be more effective in service.
So what of me and what of you? For those of us with activist tendencies we need to make sure that our laudable desire to be up and doing for the Lord is not just a fleshly impulse. We do that through fighting to spend time with the Lord. For those of us of a more contemplative disposition we need to make sure that that tendency does not just lead us in to being sedentary mystics who are engaged in spiritual exercises, but not in gazing on the Lord.
And amidst all this we discern that the dwellers are the ones who end up being the effective doers. The Lord makes His work to continue through the dwellers who flow out from His presence in mighty power.