I’ve spent most of these past few months checking off tasks from the myriad to-do lists that come with serving as pastor. It’s been a “doer” kind of a season.
As we’ve launched certain initiatives and life rolls into a new season, I find myself longing for more time to reflect, study, read and learn. Pastors are always completing tasks but an equally important part of their calling is to think deeply… about God, life, family, the church, and more.
All this has caused me to ponder the relationship between thinking and doing. My forever model, Jesus Christ, masterfully blended thought and action into a life that was beautiful and fruitful (and perfect in every other way). On one day, his disciples stretched their minds as they sat thoughtfully at his feet absorbing his words while on the next day, they struggled to keep in step as he travelled the countryside healing, feeding and otherwise ministering to multitudes.
In a day when learning is so often reduced to taking in information, we ought to make note of the model Jesus provides. Learning is a critical combination of thinking and doing, word and deed (as the New Testament puts it).
It seems the longing to know comes through doing. After the disciples were sent out by Jesus to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom, they came back with a whole new set of questions and a vital urgency to seek answers. It is the combination of thinking and doing that leads to genuine “learning.” And this is at the core of what it means to follow Jesus. In fact, the Greek work for disciple can also be translated “learner.”
This is partly why a church, as an institution of learning, looks different than other “learning” institutions in the world. Like the first disciples, our thinking must lead to action and our action compels us to deeper thought.
It is critically important that we spur each other to action through ministries like Count Me In and the Homeless Ministry. And it is critically important that we stop and reflect through Sunday worship and the Gospel Academy. And it is even more significant that we come together in Home Groups where we combine action and thought in community through Bible study and missional living.
At the end of the day, we need both thought and action. We must settle neither for ivory tower academics nor for thoughtless activity. Emphasize one and ignore the other and you have a discipleship disaster. Put them together and you have something beautiful.
To which side of the action/thought continuum do you lean? What steps could you take to move into greater balance?