February 22, 2017 | Larry Steller
One of the greatest conversations ever recorded took place in Matthew’s Gospel (Mathew 22:37-40). A brilliant lawyer stepped out of the crowd thinking he would trap Jesus by asking Him this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “You must love the LORD Your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Jesus is talking here about balance. Balance means living a life that honors God, honors others, and honor ourself in the way we use our gifts and spend our time and resources.
One of the greatest mistakes we can make is getting out of balance by overemphasizing one aspect of life at the cost of other areas.
This often happens in a church, just like it did with the Pharisees and Sadducees. We all want truth, and sometimes think we have a corner on the truth.
But truth out of balance can be very dangerous! For example, Truth without grace leads to legalism. On the other hand, grace without truth leads to license.
Truth without grace leads to legalism. Grace without truth leads to license.
When Jesus talked about balance, He was talking from His own experience: Jesus modeled a life of balance. He was engaged and involved but knew how to withdraw. He was certainly full of action, but took time for reflection. He was all about mission, but stepped out of the circle of the crowd to minister to one person. He spent a lot of effort, but took time for spiritual energizing.
The great need presented to those in ministry can be overwhelming, and that is why balance in ministry is so necessary. Balance is defined as “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” If the weight of ministry becomes too heavy, we are unable to remain upright and steady. Ministry then becomes too stressful and leads us to burnout, and burnout can lead to depression.
It has been said that balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Jesus knew when to slip away from the crowds in order to be re-charged. A good way for a healthy pastor to practice balance, is a holistic approach- spiritual, physical, psychological (thinking, emotions, decision making), and relational. If any one of those things are “deflated”, it is like going down the highway with a tire out of balance- a bumpy ride.
Here’s a question: What boundaries do I need to build into my life and ministry for greater balance?