Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rick Warren quote

I received an email from a church member with a portion of a transcript of an interview with Rick Warren, conducted by Paul Bradshaw. There was a quote in it that really resonated with me. Warren said this:

"When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings."

When I used to teach Christian ethics in Argentina at the International Baptist Theological Seminary, in one of the introductory classes I would always do a little exercise with the students about the relationship between being and doing. It's based on the age-old debate or question, does who I am determine what I do, or does what I do determine who I am? I would put the two options to a vote before any discussion to see how many students favored which of the two options. After giving some examples of cases that seemed to support each of the alternatives and some lively discussions, the consensus reached by the class generally was that the two questions represent a false dichotomy. The truth is probably somewhere in between the two extremes and represents a dynamic tension between them.

I can both argue that I do what I do because of who I am, and that I am who I am because of a history or pattern of doing what I do. Warren's quote above emphasizes a bit more the need to focus on who I am in relationship to God. It's not about impressing God by what I attempt to do in His service as much as it is delighting myself in His person and presence. That's a good reminder in the middle of a busy week of ministry.

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