Saturday, December 11, 2021

Balance or order?

The world is on the hunt for balance -- work and play, self and others, security and liberty, holiness and fun, home and work/leisure, roles (wife and mother or husband and father), etc...  The pursuit of balance has become the goal of this life, the mark of adulthood, and the defining characteristic of a life worth living.  Balance.  But as we all know, balance is a fragile thing.  Try to balance two things on an old fashioned scale and you find out how difficult it is to achieve the illusive dream of perfect balance.  

Some in the churches have sought to adopt this pursuit as a Christian goal and process.  We, as Christians, work to find the balance now between faith and life in the world.  It is as if faith were merely one of many things and not the primary thing, one of many priorities instead of the chief priority, and one of many aspects of our life instead of that which defines us.  It fits well within the scheme of things for those who view holiness as off putting and goodness as boring.  Balance.  Yeah, that is what we struggle for -- not too holy and not too worldly.

Sometimes the churches are an enemy not only of balance but of order.  We flood our people's schedules with programs and events that are not bad in an of themselves but they only increase the stress upon their lives and end up making the important things of worship and catechism and instruction in the Word compete with sports leagues and self-help groups.  We make their lives busier but not richer and the churches end up finding ways to justify their large buildings and staff.  

In the end what we have to offer the world is not balance but order.  God's order in the home and in the world.  God's order or plan of salvation was laid down early for us but unfolded over many years.  In the beginning was the Word... and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us full of glory... to all who received Him.. He gave the right to become the children of God....... God's order is our goal -- not balance but the order that flowed from His creation (even though interrupted by sin) and was restored in the redemption that comes in the blood of Christ.  It is this order that gives our lives meaning, purpose, and a context.  It is this order that grounds us for the disorder that, no matter how balanced, threatens our lives and well-being.

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. . . and everything else will find its proper place.  That is the promise.  It is not a matter of finding a balance between competing priorities and demands upon us but discovering the peace of God's order in which Jesus is always first, others come next, and then ourselves.  How contrary to the world and its promise that if you put yourself first you will find peace, happiness, and contentment!  Balance lives under the veil of control but order is the surrender of faith to the promise that God's will, good and gracious, is best for us. . . always.

Yes, we are in the midst of that busy season.  And our lives cry out for a refuge from all the busy-ness.  But the answer does not lie in trying to find an illusive balance but in the right order as defined not by our hearts but God's Word.  Therein lies the promise of peace.  So do not short the time spent in prayer or skip the worship services of God's House in the hopes of squeezing a few extra moments to fulfill all the demands upon us.  And do not run from the ordinary and yet special relationships of spouse, children, and home to find your sweet spot all alone.  God has promised that order is the key and His work to restore the order that was lost when sin stole away our identity and disordered our lives from His grace.  Herein is our peace that passes understanding -- order.  God's order.

1 comment:

Timothy Carter said...

"The important things....worship and catechism and instruction in the Word."
Excellent observations, Pastor. These should always be the priorities of the Confessional Church.
Timothy Carter, simple country Deacon. Kingsport, TN.