Much in the world relies on balance. To be healthy, our bodies need balanced diets and proper time for exercise and for sleep. For our relationships to be healthy, we need to balance our time between loved ones so that everyone gets proper attention. Even relatively simple physical activities such as standing up or walking, requires balance.
There are many eastern religions that focus on spiritual balance. And sometimes it seems logical that spiritual balance should also be uplifted as the central aspect of the Christian faith as well.
Yet, something seems (at least to us) inherently unbalanced in Christianity because of grace. Scripture teaches us that we are saved not by our actions but by God’s grace. We will not live another life based on our good or evil actions in this life. Rather we will live on in God’s kingdom because of the incredibly good act of Jesus.
I wonder if this is why we Christians don’t all feel a constant calling to stretch beyond what we normally would try to accomplish or who we will try to help. It isn’t hard to run across folks in the church and Christians in society who are helping on many many fronts. As a pastor I worry about them. I don’t want them to burn out for their own sake and for the world around us.
It remains is important to remember God created a world that operates on balances – balances of chemistry and physics. Balances in the animal kingdom. And even balances in human life – balances of time, energy, resources, and capabilities. When we offer grace to one it will cost us some quality elsewhere at some point. This shouldn’t decrease our enthusiasm for being graceful but it should encourage us to be realistic about what we can accomplish. We sometimes can fall into an “all or nothing” trap and that is not what Christ is calling us to do.
The needs of our world, our communities, our churches, and even our homes are great. Let us be those hands, voices, ears, and shoulders of grace as we move about. But let us also remember that we aren’t the only souls God puts on this planet and sometimes we need to offer a little grace to ourselves as well. We need to ask for help. We don’t always need to be in charge. And we need to pace ourselves.
One last thought is maybe Christianity is the ultimate religion of balance. Maybe our problem is we don’t understand that we all live inherently unbalanced lives. The scales tipped further and further and further as time has gone on. But, by God’s grace and sending his son, God rebalanced the entire package.
Just some food for thought this Tuesday morning.