Posts Tagged balance

Busy is a Four Letter Word

Luke 5: 16

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

This topic just keeps popping back up. I think the reason is because we do lead very busy lives. Because of that, we have to carefully manage our lives. It seems to me that in simpler times this might not have been such a big issue but then when I think of Jesus I have to reconsider. Jesus was the busiest guy ever. He knew that he only had a short time in which to completely and radically change the world. He had a lot of work to do and just a short time to do it. Worse, he had to walk everywhere he went which took up a lot of his time. Still, he always managed to slip away to be with his Father. His ministry depended on that time with the Father. Could he have done the things he did if he didn’t go to the well himself and fill up?

I think this quiet time away must have been important because he taught his disciples this strategy. Look what he told them in Mark 6: 31, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” The passage said that there were so many people coming to them and they were so busy that they didn’t even have time to eat. Well, if they were that busy and had that many demands on their time, how could they afford to go away by themselves? How could they afford the time off?

Jesus taught them by his example as well and through the recorded history of the Bible, he is teaching us this lesson today. We see him living his advice in Mark 6: 46 where it says, “And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray.” He led by example showing his disciples that if they were going to do anything great in life, they must prioritize their prayer time.

I have noticed that even ministers have this problem. We can get so busy doing the work of God that we forget that our time with Him is the most important. Everyone has deadlines. Everyone has pressure and stress. Yet some people learn how to get this piece into their schedule every day. Is it simply a matter of setting it as a priority? Maybe we don’t love God enough. Maybe we need to meditate on our feelings about God. The best thing is to do it for a period of time and see how much smoother life is.

We have worn our busyness like a badge for years. People brag about how busy they are. Well, I am a recovering busy person. Yes, I am still busy but I am being healed of the obsession of it. The excuses I used to use to justify my out of balance lifestyle just don’t work anymore. Now when I hear other people talking about how busy they are and how they just can’t do something, in the back of my mind I hear, “There is healing for that.” The solution to this problem may be different for different folks but ultimately I think we just have to do whatever is necessary to unburden our lives so that there is time for God in our daily schedule.

What do you think? Are you stressed and overburdened? Jesus said that he came to take our heavy burdens. When we walk with him daily, he takes the weight and makes our burden light. If you are really that busy, then you need Jesus. You need a whole bunch more of him than you are getting right now. Take some time. Honestly, you can find a moment if you are intentional about it. Go talk with Jesus and ask him to help you with your load. Make a deal with him that you will give him some of your tasks and you will spend time in prayer. I promise you will be glad if you do.

Balance Beam

Proverb 21: 17 – 18          NIV


He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.

Wow! That is a powerful statement. We have become very developed in seeking pleasure whether it is our TV time, our hobbies, food, drink, vacations, or any of a number of pleasures. There is a place for recreation, no doubt. There is a time for play and there is also a time for work. Ecclesiastes teaches us that there is a time for everything (3:1). Solomon isn’t denying that in today’s proverb, after all, he was also the author of Ecclesiastes. The point I believe Solomon is trying to convey is that using our energy in seeking pleasure is a vain activity which leads, ultimately, to emptiness. We even work to fulfill our pleasures but there must be things of substance in this life and in this world which would give us much greater satisfaction that simply chasing pleasure.

Of course, the clear point that Solomon makes is that this seeking after pleasure will lead us to poverty and this is from the richest man to ever live upon the earth, even to this day. Solomon was so rich that he didn’t even bother with silver. I accept what Solomon suggests here but also speculate that the endless search for fulfillment in pleasure leads to an impoverished lifestyle. I mean to say that perhaps this person’s poverty does not see him living on the streets and begging at soup kitchens but that he is none the less very poor in spirit, in friends, in fulfillment, in rewarding relationships with his family, and a plethora of other ways.

The one pleasure that Solomon highlights in this passage is the desire for wine and oil. There are so many among us whose life seeps away at the bottom of a wine glass. Their ambition for more fruitful pursuits is swallowed up by the pleasure they seek in that glass. Time, which is such a valuable commodity, gets wasted when much good could have been done. All this pursuit buys is regret. We do not want this for our loved ones. Life is so meaningful but can we wasted so easily.

One of the biggest life lessons I have learned is that it is all about balance. You can work too much, play too much. Almost all things, even good things, can turn into negatives when we exercise them out of their proper balance. There are many nice and pleasurable things in our life and God gave us all good things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6: 17), but they can be overdone and then become detrimental to our lives. Paul wrote, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify (1 Corinthians 10: 23). Perhaps this is the admonition which Solomon is giving us today, that is, to spend our time in fruitful pursuits. Let us not run the race seeking pleasures only because at the end of our days on earth we, ourselves, will say, “Vanity, vanity; it was all vanity.”

Rest Area

Mark 6: 31

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.

Jesus and his disciples were absolutely flooded with work; so much so, in fact, that they did not even have time to eat. Have you ever been that busy? If so, look at the teaching Jesus gave the disciples. Take time out. Do not keep up this pace. Jesus took them away from their work to a quiet, lonely place so that they could have rest. The work they were doing was important. It was the work of the Lord. They were ministering to the needs of the people and people were getting saved. Yet even though they were doing Jesus’ own work, working in his own ministry he took them away from it. It was important to Jesus that he teach them balance. This lesson was so important to Jesus that he took his disciples away from the needy and hungry children of Israel. Can you really grasp how significant that was? Jesus’ ministry was only to last three years and yet he took his disciples away from work.

And why did this story find its way into the Bible? Of course it is so that we will not make the same mistake that the disciples were making. Jesus wants us to learn to balance our lives. He takes no joy in a work-a-holic. Our society applauds busyness and over work but in Jesus’ book those are the signs of someone who is out of balance and headed for a crash. Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden light (Matthew 11: 30) so if we are struggling under a heavy burden then we know we have stepped out of Jesus’ yoke and picked up a burden of our own. Jesus would “often slip away to the wilderness and prayLuke 5: 16. He taught his disciples to slip away so that they could rest and pray. If he did that and he taught his disciples to do the same, then why do you think that he wants something different for you? Luke says that Jesus would “often” slip away. That means that he didn’t just wait for his annual vacation. He lived a life of balance and he wants us to do the same. I once heard Kenneth E. Hagin preach a wonderful message about living a fasted life. Some people live life full steam in one direction and then full steam in another direction. Hagin was teaching balance. Work when it is time to work but rest when it is time to rest. Take time to pray and take time to live. Don’t overload in any direction but rather keep yourself in peace and balance. If Jesus was not only willing but dedicated to leaving his work in order to get rest and prayer time, then don’t you think it is wise for us to do the same thing? I know this can be a difficult lesson to learn but listen to the Spirit of God. He is trying to tell you something. It is in your best interest and for God’s glory.