Maintaining balance in one’s life requires focus. Yet, most of us don’t focus on the elements that need our attention. Most of us are pretty good at going to work and doing well enough to keep our jobs. Most of us are pretty good at having family relationships that bring us joy and satisfaction. Most of us live from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night without much regard for what it means to live a Christ-like manner. That’s not meant to be a judgmental statement – it’s meant to be descriptive of the world around us as our peers, colleagues, and bosses/employees aren’t spending time thinking about their relationship with Jesus while they’re doing their job – they’re earning a living and making money.
For a time, I was a bi-vocational pastor and spent 40 hours or more each week in an environment that is not interested in my relationship with Jesus. I worked in a public school, where it is illegal for me to talk to students about my faith/religion. Because I work in a counseling role, most of the adults I worked with knew my faith background and that I served as a minister on Sundays and other weekday evenings. Yet, the students and their parents did not have a clue about what went on in my life away from the school building.
Maintaining balance between living in a secular world and being a person of faith requires focus and attention to who I am and whose I am. I don’t have a clear prescription that works for everyone, but I do have a suggestion to finding balance in your life: Live by the “Worship, 1 and 1” axiom.
As a person who believes in God, it is essential to worship God every week. If you’re in town on Sunday morning, we’re here at First Christian at 10:45 a.m. for worship. You are welcome to join us or at any congregation of your choosing. If you’re out of town, I encourage you to find a place to worship in that town. I know that’s not always possible or desirable, but giving thanks to God for each of our blessings helps us maintain a healthy relationship with God and buoyed in God’s desire for us. Remember, Sunday morning worship is about God, not people.
The “1 and 1” portion of the axiom is this: every week do something, ONE thing, that nourishes your faith AND do something, ONE thing, that helps someone outside of your family. Certainly, you are encouraged to do more that just one thing, but it’s a place to start. Take the biblical examples of Mary and Martha, the sisters that hosted Jesus in their home. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and soaked up everything that Jesus taught. She spent time with her rabbi, her teacher. Martha, on the other hand, never sat down. She flitted to and fro making sure to be the quintessential host by making sure everyone else’s needs were met. Martha ended up exhausted and bitter that she was working while her co-host and sister did nothing to serve their guest.
Both Mary and Martha are wonderful examples of how to live a Christian life – learning and serving. Yet, if we are too absorbed on one, we neglect the other and we are out of balance. Faith without works is a fine ideal, but how does that help anyone but you? Works without faith offers a wonderful ethic to help those in need, but what meaning is made from any action?
We can go about enriching our faith by attending classes to engage our faith in learning. These occasions allow us to embrace Mary’s positive attributes. Volunteering to teach a class, work with children, or donate time to hand out food to hungry people – something that you are passionate about for the world are a few examples of service. Each of these things helps us to embrace the positive attributes of Martha.
To embrace the “Worship, 1 and 1” axiom helps to find and maintain balance between being self-absorbed and self-sacrificial. It helps us to sit at Jesus’ feet to soak in everything about our faith and to make a difference in the lives of those in our community. I don’t know what impact it will make in Logan County if each of us tried to employ such a plan. But I think it would be fun to explore and it just might bring joy to a world that desperately needs joy.