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A balanced life

Years ago, I started a sermon with a question (as I sometimes do), “What’s the most important tool a preacher has?” The Bible is certainly critical. Prayer is essential. An education helps. But one of the most important tools any preacher has is a big toe; it enables us to stand up. Without a big toe, we’d lose our balance and fall down, and forget where we were in the sermon.

My favorite verse in the Bible is from Luke 2:52, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” 

It’s a verse about balance. If you’ve ever juggled marriage and family and job and life, you’ll know it’s not easy. Jesus balanced brain and brawn. 

He was wise beyond his years and walked the length and breadth of Palestine. And he balanced his relationship with God and his relationships with people. Maybe you’ve met people who were so heavenly minded they were no earthly good? Or so earthly minded, they had no time for spiritual things?

In the book “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,” Paul Brand compares the human body and the body of Christ. We humans are both flesh and bone. Without bones (righteousness), we’d be a puddle. Without flesh (grace and love), we’d be cold and hard and untouchable. Maybe you noticed we first come into contact with a person’s flesh, so we ought to meet people with grace and love before we talk about righteousness. Some Christians are so righteous, they’re quite obnoxious and uninviting. It’s also possible to be “too gracious,” accepting everything and questioning nothing. It’s a matter of balance!

So, let’s talk about balance, from feet to legs to knees to hips to spine, carrying the weight of a body and neck and head. It really does take our ears and eyes and brain and spinal cord and heart and muscles all working together to simply stand in line while you’re Christmas shopping or walking through the mall. And it takes a bit of practice. Watch a toddler trying to put it all together and take those first steps.

Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” 

Now what is peace; it’s the fruit of balance. When you’ve put it all together and it’s working, you enjoy a sense of peace. 

Life is full of dead batteries, flat tires, stubbed toes, red lights and traffic jams — all unexpected and unwelcome interruptions. Life can easily get “out of balance.” Then we become anxious and ill-at-ease and uncomfortable.

The Christmas season might be a good time to remember Jesus was the most balanced man who ever lived, and he came to bring us a balanced life — peace!