by Phil Uhrhan
As we strive to achieve and maintain balance in our congregations, it is also critical to consider balance in our individual lives, as well as the consequences an unbalanced life can negatively have on our contributions to our congregations and our efforts to increase the Kingdom.
As I considered the word “Balance,” my first thought was of the book “Balance” written by Ira North in 1983. One of the first scriptures Brother North noted was Luke 2:52: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Jesus provides us the example for balanced growth in our lives:
Jesus grew in wisdom. Some of my favorite definitions of wisdom are 1.) That insight which helps us to decide what is the best thing to do, and 2.) Being skillful and successful in one’s relationships and responsibilities… observing and following the Creator’s principles. The best way we can increase in wisdom is to commit our lives to Jesus and stay focused on Him. During 2011, our congregation has been focused on daily reading through the Bible in one year. As individuals and as a congregation we have grown during this period like we have never seen before.
Jesus grew in stature. Since our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20), then we ought to do what’s necessary to take care of them. The tough part is having the wisdom to eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, etc. so that our bodies are healthy enough to allow us to carry out the ministries that God has given us talents to be involved in.
Jesus grew in favor with God. A key scripture is Matt. 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This aspect of our life should be given the highest priority and should be integrated with every dimension of our life. If our spiritual growth is first, then the other points of balance should follow and fall in their proper places.
Jesus grew in favor with man. As maturing Christians, we have the opportunity to influence all we have contact with, therefore our attitudes and personality should be such that people want to be around us and have what we have, namely, Christ living within us. This dimension of our lives also includes striving to be the best spouses, dads and moms, and how we accept and live those awesome responsibilities.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could always maintain a balanced life? The fact is our lives can become out of balance. What are the consequences of an unbalanced life? Ira North said “The saddest situation is to see a man who has developed a brilliant mind, a strong body, and a good personality and yet has never developed spiritually. Intellectually he may be a giant and physically he may be as strong as one can hope, and yet if he is a spiritual dwarf, he is a cake half turned, he is a half baked individual.”
What happens when a tire is out of balance? The whole car shakes. What happens when you have inner-ear problems and lose your sense of balance? Our whole world can become disoriented. It can be the same when our life is unbalanced.
Consequences can be many, but when too much time and energy are devoted to one area of our lives, the other areas suffer. So often, we spend too much time in our job and our family life suffers as well as our relationship with the Lord and our spiritual growth. We too often experience being overloaded with work, missing family commitments because of work, failing health, deep anxiety, depression, strained relationships with spouse and kids, not serving in our own local congregation and even burnout in the work of the Church. We often cannot see beyond the pressure of getting through today. Tragically, some start missing services and gradually fall away from the Church.
Psa. 127 speaks of a life out of balance. In Psa. 127:2, it says, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for He grants sleep to those He loves.” We read about and can relate to the life of overwork and can picture worry, and those whose lives feel worthless and pointless. Psa. 128:1 goes on to say: “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” We must remember that it will be well with us when we walk in his way and fear the Lord.
Phil Uhrhan is an elder for the Jersey Village Church of Christ in Houston, Texas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.