At the time, I listened and nodded, with an internal, "Amen!"
But, upon reflection, I think this statement is wrong. Or, at least, this statement is off-the-mark.
I think God cares a lot about what we do.
I agree with the sentiment of the phrase. I deeply agree with the message which I am certain this faithful preacher was attempting to share on Sunday. The idea that Father God cares deeply about the state of our hearts. God looks at what is on the inside or the state of our faith, not at our outward deeds or actions, as a measure of reality. He sees our souls, our hearts, our thoughts. He doesn't want white-washed, clean looking stinky tombs. He cares about how clean the cup is on the inside! This I can say, "Amen!" to wholeheartedly.
But, to say that God cares more about "who we are than what we do" is an oxymoronic statement. For, in truth, what we do shows forth who we are. They are deeply and inextricably linked to each other.
Our actions are a testament to our belief. Our deeds are connected to our faith. From our hearts flow the things we do.
God cares deeply about who I am. Yes! And, God cares deeply about what I do.
It does matter to Him how I act as a wife, a mother, a neighbor, an enemy and a friend.
It matters deeply to Him how I wash the dishes, parent my children, or write my newsletters.
"Let your light shine before me"... that is the who I am bit. ..."that they may see your good deeds" ...that is the what I do bit. SO THAT, "they may praise your Father in heaven. " ...that is the goal! (Matthew 5:16)
I am reading a wonderful novel by George MacDonald, The Curates Awakening. One major theme MacDonald is wrestling with is what would faith--- deep, heart changing faith in Jesus--- do to a man's real, everyday life.
"Now it was clear as day that--always provided the man Christ Jesus can be and is with his disciples always to the end of the world--a tradesman might just as soon have Jesus behind the counter with him, teaching him to buy and sell in His Name, that is as he would have done it, as an earl riding over his lands might have him with him, teaching him how to treat his farmers and cottagers. ...the trader who trades nobly is nobler surely than the high-born who, if he carried the principles of his daily life into trade, would be as pitiful a sneak as any he that bows and scrapes falsely behind that altar of lies, his counter." (The Curates Awakening)
To trade in His Name. To lead in His name and to care for others in His name. To clean in His Name. To write in His name. To teach in His name. "as unto Him alone!"
This is what He longs to see in His children, I think.
I Corinthians 10 tells us that we have an example in the Israelite desert wanderers. Paul reminds us that God's people were fed miraculous, spiritual food. They were provided for and led forward in His presence. They ate and had their fill. Who were they?... cared for, provided, fed and led children of God!
...and yet, "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to play" (1 Cor. 10:7). Their play included everything from sexual immorality, to distrust, to grumbling... and everything in between. (v. 8-9)
Their "play" looked nothing like the spiritual, pure food that had nourished them.
It mattered to the Lord what they did after they ate the spiritual manna He put before them. He cared a lot about what they did. Paul reminds us that God was deeply displeased with their behavior and left them to die in the desert.
This reminder passage in 1 Corinthians concludes with the very familiar passage, "Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God" (10:31). Eat. Drink. ...then get up and "do all" to His glory.
I was blessed with spiritual food this morning. He fed me from His word and His Spirit. Now, it matters ...deeply matters... what I "get up" and do today.
For God cares about who I am, Yes! And, He cares about what I do.