Do you view your life more as a series of events to be a part of, destinations to arrive at, and tasks to be done, than as a journey of becoming a particular kind of person? Granted, life is full of things to do, places to go, tasks to accomplish, responsibilities to attend to. There really is no end to the “doing” part of life. But, who are you and who are you becoming? Does it really matter and why?
Observing contemporary American culture one gets the impression that accomplishing things and accumulating things far out weighs any concerns about the kind of people we are or may be in the process of becoming. Image, that outward view and perception others have of us, which is typically based on looks, talent, athletic ability, charisma, intellectual brilliance, or even the doing of “good” deeds, tends to rank very high as a core value of our culture. But all these accomplishments or natural attributes can be accomplished or possessed by people of very little character. Built-in social restraints may be able to reign in poor character for a season, but as we often witness in the public arena, who we really are eventually shows up in one way or another.
Up against this value of “image” which our culture, and honestly everyone of us, so carefully protects, stands the example and teaching of Jesus. He said such things as, “a bad tree cannot bear good fruit”, and “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. His emphasis was always on the the kind of person one is or is becoming, for he knew that it is out of the content of a person’s character that flows the nature of a person’s deeds. It’s that simple. We produce what we are. A good tree produces good fruit. A bad tree produces bad fruit. The deeds of Jesus flow out of the person he is. How often we attempt to reproduce the deeds of Jesus while trying to short cut around the process of becoming the kind of person he is.
Being is all about process and not first of all about performance.