It is probably safe to say that everyone has either heard that phrase or said it themselves. I know I have.
I remember one of the kids spilling their drink on the table and the liquid going everywhere. As it is running towards all sides, falling down the crack, dripping onto the floor, I reach with my single napkin and try to wipe up the mess. I look around. Everyone is just staring as if unsure what to do. “Don’t just stand there. Do something!” I yell.
Quickly, everyone springs into action grabbing napkins, running for a towel, grabbing for the mop.
It doesn’t always have to be a crisis situation either. It could just be that company is coming and the house is a mess. It needs to get cleaned. Everyone knows that someone is coming. Everyone can see the mess. However, the command hasn’t been given to “get busy” so we have to give a little push, a little reminder to help serve.
Yet, in our religious life, we are quite the opposite. We keep ourselves busy with the “doing.” We want to be “doing.” It is true that we were created to serve. God has given us all a place in the body to be useful. The problem is that we are often so busy serving that we forget who it is that we serve. It is as if we believe our number one priority is to serve God, to keep busy. That is incorrect. Our number one priority is to know Him.
We get caught up in wanting to know “God’s will” for our life, turning the focus onto us and our life and off God. What if what we truly need to know is just God’s will? Where is He working? What is He doing? See, He doesn’t work for us, He works through us. We serve Him, not the other way around.
As Blackaby and King say in Experiencing God, “A time will come when the doing will be called for, but we cannot skip the relationship.” Why? Because we have to know someone in order to understand them, to hear them, to trust them.
Instead of keeping ourselves busy with serving, perhaps what God is saying is this: “Don’t just do something. Stand there!” Maybe it’s time that we stopped, listened, paid attention.
Here’s the truth of the matter: He is the vine. We are the branches that come off that vine. Apart from the vine, we do not function. Apart from the vine, we do not operate properly. Apart from the vine, we can do absolutely nothing of value. We merely function without the benefit of receiving nutrients that keep us growing and functioning. Eventually, we dry up. Eventually, we wither and rot. Eventually, we are good for nothing.
It’s not about us and what we want to do. It’s about Him and where He is working, moving, operating.
Take some time to stop doing and just stand there. Be silent. Get to truly know Him. It’s not about what we can do – It’s about what He can do through us.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ~John 15:5