Music and the Spoken Word: 'Doing in order to become'

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This was previously broadcast and will be given again on May 17, 2020.

Life is full of important things to do. But if we let those to-do’s fill up our lives, we may be missing something essential about what it means to be human. After all, as it is often said, we are human beings, not human doings.

In other words, life is more about who we are becoming through our experiences — not just what we’re doing with our time. So while it’s helpful to plan what we are going to do each day, we might also consider what we are going to become each day. How might the person we are at the end of the day be a little different from the person we were at the beginning?

Becoming a truly good person demands more of us than merely checking items off a to-do list. However, it also has a lot to do with what we choose to do. Those who truly become kind and caring, compassionate and generous, have developed those qualities over time, through the accumulation of good choices. Because the natural drift is toward selfishness and rudeness, they are intentional about resisting those inclinations and becoming a person of goodness and character. That’s demanding work!

It’s much easier to go with the flow, reacting without much thought to whatever comes our way, but the flow usually doesn’t lead where we really want to go.

A middle-aged man, busy with many things to do, realized that he wasn’t becoming what he wanted to be. He knew that what really mattered in his life was his faith, his family and his relationships. But having spent so much time building a career, he had missed many of life’s sweetest, most meaningful moments. So with sincere desires and diligent efforts, he focused on becoming a better person. It’s not that he stopped doing; it’s just that his doing now had a purpose: to help him become more patient, loving, and compassionate — his doing led to becoming. And that changed his life.

No matter how much we might need to accomplish, life was never meant to be a list of tasks. We were created to become something greater than what we now are. And the things we choose to do can lift us to that goal. This is what it means to be a human being.

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

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