Summary: Margins may be defined as “the space between your load and your limit.” The load represents the things that you carry every day. You reach a limit when you crack and go over the edge. Synonyms for margin include a buffer, space, reserves, or reservoir.
God says that we must live as a people who number our days. This means that we are to be stewards of our time. We must steward the hours that God gives to you and to me. We all have 24 hours and none of us have any more or any less.
Load vs. Limit
Margins may be defined as “the space between your load and your limit.” The load represents the things that you carry every day. You reach a limit when you crack and go over the edge. Synonyms for margin include a buffer, space, reserves, or reservoir.
Sometimes it helps us to understand a word when we define it by its antonym or opposite. Some opposites of margins include zero tolerance, on the edge, overload, stress, debt, or irritability. We can all relate to these, especially the last three.
Let me give you some examples. Suppose you make $100 and you spend $80. You have a margin of $20. But if you make $100 and you spend $120, what do you have? You have trouble! You have a margin-less financial situation. You are in debt. You are in overload. You are on the edge.
The problem is we not only do that with our finances, but most people do that with everything in their lives. They spend 120%.
Here is another example of no margin. The phone is ringing. The kids are fighting. Your spouse wants his meal. You’re trying to get dressed for church that started five minutes ago and you live thirty minutes away.
If you lived in a perfect world and had no problems at all, you wouldn’t need margins. But guess where you get the tolerance and patience for problems? It comes from the margins of your life.
Let me explain it to you another way. When you look into books, you notice spaces located around the edges of the pages called a margin. It is usually an inch or so around the edge. A margin is necessary. Every page contains one. The words don’t go from edge-to-edge of the paper. Margins are present because they help make the pages more readable.
Someone could look at that margin in a book and flip all of the pages saying, “What a stupid idea! Do you know what someone could do to conserve space? They could get words from exactly one edge and run it completely to the other edge and leave no spaces so that you could get more words on a page. Do you know what? If you did that, you could save sixty pages out of some books. Just think of the amount of trees we would conserve! We would also save money. The book would cost less.”
But, how many of you would read a book where the words went from edge-to-edge, all the way across? It would not be very readable. Although the contents would still be there, not many people would want to read it. Why? Because it contained no margins!
I took one of my books and measured the margins. I figured it out mathematically and the amount of margins on one page takes up 40% of the space. Forty percent is white space.
When people read books, no one will ever begrudge the book its margins. No one would say, “It is stupid for this book to have so many margins.” No, not at all! The margins are a part of the readability of the book. In fact, if someone put words from edge-to-edge, we would call that “stupid.” However, we live our lives like that sometimes. We live margin-less existences until there is zero tolerance.
INCORRECT WAYS TO BUILD MARGINS
One way we try to make up for margin-less lives in incorrect ways is with speed. You have five minutes to get from point A to point B. You leave one minute before you should be there. How do you make up margins? Hurry!
I see it every day on the freeway. Whiz! Whiz! Margin-less lives! That is what we do. We try to increase our pace. We try to push more into a short amount of time. Hence, we get into accidents. We get irritable. We get angry at each other. Why? Because one of the incorrect ways to build margins is to try to take shortcuts. We try to cheat life by going faster to build a margin. You can’t do it. It will kill you! Hence the slogan: Speed Kills!
That is a Bible word for “squandering or taking something that God has blessed and using it for another purpose.” Let me give you some examples:
When we don’t have margins in our lives, instead of building margins correctly, we take drugs. If you are so stressed, you will take a couple of lines of “coke” to settle you down. I have a good friend who does exactly that. When he is too stressed, he takes cocaine and it settles him down. At least that is what he says. He lost his job. He lost his business. He lost his family. He lost all of his bank account. Drugs Kill!