Read Psalm 139:23-24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (NLT)
There are those who tend towards escapism. Lots of issues out there in the world need addressing, but the response of the escapist is to withdraw from them, to disengage. Then again, there are those who tend towards activism. All those issues are not only to be addressed, but addressed by them personally. The escapist risks isolation, the activist risks burnout.
In the sphere of faith this tension is apparent. As the psalmist reminds us, we do need to take time to simply be with God, to allow him to search our hearts. But the aim is to have us reengage with our world as an expression of love of God and neighbour. To simply rush about serving God and others might look good, but it might not achieve a whole lot. Activity doesn’t equal achievement after all.
Unless we first do business with God we cannot fruitfully do his work in the world. Unless we face who we are we risk ‘serving’ in all sorts of undisciplined and self-serving ways. Our first task is to locate ourselves in God. Our second and very necessary task is to immerse ourselves in doing God’s work in the world.
We won’t do the second task well until we do the first task well.