Being is greater than doing.
We all come into the world with a certain emptiness in our lives—an emptiness that leads to a search for meaning. And the world tells us that search for meaning can be solved by doing. Unfortunately, an overemphasis on doing has led many people away from cultivating an interior life that allows them to sustain their exterior life.
This explains the many failures we continuously see in day-to-day life. When a person’s inner life—who he or she is—is not prepared, that person’s character does not have the maturity or the strength to sustain them in the long run.
In this book, Miguel Núñez points us to Scripture and experience to show us how being is more important than doing. He teaches us how to cultivate the foundations of our lives, so that we can be what we need to be, in order to do what we need to do.
Why did you write this book? What inspired you to write it?
Much has been said and written about leadership in the last 10-15 years. Even though a lot has been very good, unfortunately, many have seen their calling as a right for special privileges, rather than equipping them to be servants of the living God. So, this book calls people of humble character to model the life of Christ in front of the people of God and of the world. Servant leaders not only proclaim a message, but also they are a living message that others can read! They lead by example; their influence is their character to the point that their exemplary lives become an encouragement to others. So, the book was written with the intention of communicating these truths/convictions to as many people as possible.
For whom did you write this book?
In one sense, I wrote it for a child of God who sees Christ as our leader and all of us as his servants. I say this because even a father and a mother must lead their children in some capacity. Indeed, we even need to lead ourselves before we lead anybody else.
On the other hand, I wrote the book to help us leaders think about leadership in a biblical sense so that we may distance ourselves from the patterns of the world. It is also for those who are being trained to occupy positions of leadership in the future, so that they may get a biblical picture of what it means to lead upwards as Christ did.
In a world of performance, why is it important for Christians to hear this message? How does your book provide freedom from the need to perform?
Quite frequently leaders tend to focus on the tasks to get things done, and then they feel productive and significant. However, ministry is about people. If we do not keep this in focus, we will end up using people to get things done, instead of using the tasks to minister to people. We can do that a lot better when our sense of identity is in Christ and not on productivity. The greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor. If we keep that in mind, pleasing God—not performance—will be our priority.
Talk about your own experience with this overemphasis on doing. How did you manage failures as a physician and pastor?
I began my medical profession focusing on the tasks—almost like everybody else—and the same can be said about my ministerial career. Therefore, the tendency was all the time to do more, to try harder, to do better next time, and to feel better. But as I studied the life of Jesus, I soon realized that Jesus was focused all the time on pleasing the Father. Before I changed as a person, my failures (or even sense of failures) affected me significantly almost to the point of paralysis. Then I realized that I am a fallen human being in the process of becoming like Jesus. Therefore, I discovered that I needed to change my sense of identity. Once I was secure in Christ, managing the failures was a lot easier.
What role does the church play in helping believers cultivate their interior lives? As a long-time pastor, how have you seen an underemphasis on a person’s character affect the church?
If church pastors do not learn the lesson themselves, they will emphasize the “doing” over the “being” because it is what is visible—and “looking good” is always good (repetition intended). But we must remember and must remind the sheep that Christ called us to imitate him: to be humble and meek. And that is all character. Unfortunately, in most churches, character development is not the focus; it’s growing the local church or even the kingdom—until somebody crashes, that is.
How can Christians find a balance between striving to do things with excellence and seeking to grow in Christlikeness?
If you know that our God is a God of excellence as shown in his creation, and you develop a passion to reflect his character, then you will try to do things in such a way to reflect the excellency of our God. The best way to grow in Christlikeness is to get to know him. The more you know him, the more you want to become like him and the more you will try to imitate him. As you apply his teachings, your transformation begins. But you cannot be Christlike unless you get to know him intimately.
What do you hope readers will do or take away after reading this book?
My desire is that readers will be formed into godly leaders who see themselves as servants of Christ, willing to live for his cause, for his glory, for the fame of his name and who are willing to pay any price to see Christ exalted above all.