In the Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren said ... "God is more interested in why we do something than what we do." I think this is why we are called human beings rather than human doings.
I will admit to being a bit oriented to the doing side of things. This orientation is probably due to hearing "great sermon" on Sunday morning while seeing people go through another week unchanged and unmotivated by God's word, Nicey's prayer or my message. And it is due to the two extreme elements of our society I often see battling in the world of rhetoric. One side simply doesn't care about people who are hurting and the other side embarks on angry rants about societal wrongs but wants to use other people's resources to accomplish their goals. I think both are wrong. I ask myself, "how would a human being deal with the many injustices we hear bantered about on the news?"
As usual, I would like to walk through the Bible as we reflect. So ... let's start at the beginning, Genesis 1. In verse 27 God's word says, "and God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them. Male and female He created them." We, above all of the created creatures residing permanently on earth, are given something special ... the image of God. This creates great consternation in our hearts because this allows us to step outside (transcend) self and even our own flesh and look at things 1) from another perspective, 2) from another's perspective, or 3) even as Jesus would look at something. It is a beautiful and terrible ability that pulls at our heart of stone, rends it from our body and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). It is perceiving God's image that is inside us.
But that is not where this ends. Recognizing this ability is like believing in Jesus. We can believe Jesus is a real person, believe in His story, and still not believe into Him. All of us have this ability to transcend ourselves. But not all allow that ability to take hold. There is an Old Testament term "hardened heart." It is used to describe Pharaoh's refusal to let the people of Israel leave Egypt. It is also used when the people of Israel are ignoring God's call on them. Our free will allows us to resist or refuse God, always to our detriment. But when we listen to God and allow ourselves to be moved by compassion and hurt for others, we have perceived and participated in this part of God that is so much a part of us.
Finally, there is a third thing. We can perceive (see) our transcendence, we can participate (feel) God's pull upon our hearts, but still fail to practice transcendence. When I pull up at the office I see 3 to 4 cats. They act hungry (and they are little liars sometimes because I know they have been fed). I can acknowledge God's imparted image that asks me how God would handle this situation. I can even place myself in their place, feeling the pangs of hunger they might feel on a cold, wet day. Both of those things move me. But, I fall short if I don't practice the image of God. In the case of these cats, I feed them (if I know they haven't been fed). I have taken this a bit further and I adopted a little girl cat named Sundae who sleeps at my feet each evening. These last two things are important because they give feet, substance and life to my compassion. Jesus fed the 5,000 ... healed the lepers ... gave wholeness to the woman with the issue of blood. Maybe, as human beings, we apply the transcendence we have been given so that God is glorified and people are healed, helped and made whole. Because God cares what we do and why we do it. We have an image to uphold ... God's image! Randy