Do it. Read, reply and delete another email, return a phone call, read the board papers, talk to a colleague, check the minutes, organise the next trip, prepare the next talk, write the Insight column . . . there is always something to do. Life is full of activity. Life’s activities can be meaningful. But we are human beings and not human doings.

Stop it. At times we just need to stop the never-ending demands of work, the syndrome of being busy and needed, and remember who we are. Get off the treadmill and reflect on life.

. . . we are human beings and not human doings.

We’ll never know if life was as busy in first century Palestine as it is today. However, Martha found things to do. Jesus the miracle-working Rabbi and their family’s special Friend was in their home. A very good meal must be served and culturally in those times women had that task. But Martha’s sister Mary was not helping her. Martha asks Jesus to intervene but instead Jesus commends Mary for sitting and listening to Him (Luke 10:38-42). In doing this Jesus reminds Martha and me to be a human being and not just a human doing.

I have to set aside time to stop and reflect. Being a disciple of Jesus means that we follow the disciplines of Jesus—reflection on life is one of those disciplines.  

Looking out to sea, with the warm sun a relief to the cool wind, I just stop. I ask God to take my cares and let my thoughts go free and for 30 minutes I just am. Toward the end of my reflection and observation of nature, a song I learnt as a boy comes back to mind and is warmer than the sun.

“Wide, wide as the ocean, 
High as the heavens above
Deep, deep as the deepest sea
Is my Saviour’s love (Hallelujah)
Oh I’m so unworthy
But still I am a child of His care
For His Word teaches me
That His love reaches me

Pastor Glenn Townend is president of the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.