The Advent season is almost upon us and already I am getting tired of people chastising me for my “busyness” in this season of waiting and preparing our hearts. I’ve heard this a million times before. We’re busy this time of year, for crying out loud, we’ve got stuff to do to get ready.
I think maybe the busy is just magnified in this season (imagine!) and so it’s easy to point it out. “See, there you go again, rushing from thing to thing.” Well, I don’t like the rushing and I don’t like the crowds but I do like the doing. I just need to get on it sooner so it doesn’t get to panicked doing. That can get ugly.
People look so forward to this season of doing. There are so many good things to do. It makes us feel so good to be doing them. I don’t think it’s the doing good that’s the problem. I think it’s the doing good for…that does us in. They’re not the same thing.
In this season we justify our doing. We are doing good for God. Or doing good in the name of the coming Savior. Really? Does God need our doing? Are we gonna add to His glory by shining up His image a bit? Nope – this is all about us. Our “need” to do and feel good about what we’re doing.
Nothing wrong with that, unless we invest our goodness in our doing. Because then what we do is only good when it is well-received. That, I believe, is doing for. And it’s not doing for the other, it’s about doing for me. I do, so that I can be received well. I do, so that I can fill that void that wants to be enough but can’t be. I do so that I can be acceptable to the God who comes again in this Holy Season.
The One who says, “Enough already. You can’t be any more than I’ve already made you. So stop trying.”
But Scripture tells us to “do good.” John Wesley famously says,
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
Yes, we are to ‘do good’ and keep doing it. Just take off the “for.” Our good-doing-for is for us. God has set us to doing because we need it. We need to give, without demanding or anticipating or even hoping for reciprocation. We need to let our given gifts be a complete package, opened or not. And leave the “for” to God. To turn our good doing over to God’s will. Then our gifts would be enough. Always. Each gift given in the name of God, would instantly become perfect, just as it is.
Just as He was. Given to us, the “for” already included.