Summary: A personal stewardship testimony emphasizing the need for balance in life.
Before I start, I need to define one important term. The device on the table is not a scale. You can find scales in the bathroom, the doctor’s office, the meat market the truck stop etc. I personally don’t like scales -- the last time I used one I weighed 160 pounds. The correct term for this device is a balance. Balances are used in pharmaceutical compounding to weigh relatively small amounts accurately. This model is a little out dated but still useful. In fact, in our home it is used to display artificial flowers. It’s more traditional function is simple. You place a known amount on one side and carefully pour the substance you wish to weigh on the other side. When their weights are equal, you have balance.
I appreciate balance in my life. I try to heed common advice such as “too much work makes Jack a dull boy.” Or better yet, Ecclesiastes 4:5-6 “ The fool folds his hands and ruins himself. Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” Solomon when he wrote these verses was talking about balance. Many times I wished that I had read these verses sooner in life. I interpret these words as: A healthy person who folds his hands and does nothing ruins himself -- he doesn’t work --- he becomes a burden to society -- dead weight --dead wood. I personally prefer not to be considered a parasite. The other extreme I prefer to avoid is that of the persistent compulsive over worker, over achiever -- never satisfied -- always chasing after the wind. never enough money, never enough toys, always wanting more. I strive to be content with one handful and the tranquility and balance derived by avoiding these extremes.
I like relationships that are balanced. When one person continuously gives and the other takes ----- there is no balance, resentment can set in and the relationship suffers. I have seen this happen in Church families. Resentment, a symptom of burnout, can develop, servant hood -- a good thing --- becomes servitude -- a bad thing. I also find score keeping annoying. I have seen this happen with acquaintances that I haven’t seen since 1978 who remembers that they bought the coffee then and it is my turn today. This of course is an extreme example but I am sure that you get the idea. I hear similar things about helping at church such as “ I worked on that landscaping project back in 1984 -- isn’t that enough.”
I do not like to keep score and I prefer not to spend too much time with score keepers.
I attempt to adhere to these ideals with my relationship with God. He doesn’t keep score -- He wiped away my sins for all time with one sacrifice. My salvation has nothing to do with my efforts. He did it all. I am saved by His grace, His gift to me. while I am yet a sinner -- with all of my dents, scratches and rough edges -- He nailed the law that condemns me to the cross.
I know there is NOTHING that I can do to bring this relationship to perfect balance -- I can not catch up, there is no need to keep score. All of the good works from all of the Saints in heaven and earth added up together are a million grams short of being in balance.
Is this permission to do nothing? I read in Ephesians 2:10 that we are created to do good works. He says in Matthew 5:16 to let our light shine before men so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. --- All glory goes to Him. He ideally is my only audience.
I like the story in Luke 17:11-17. It tells about a time when Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem where the cross was waiting for Him. He came upon ten men who had leprosy -- they asked to be healed -- they were in fact healed -- only one came back and thanked Jesus. The one thanking Jesus was a Samaritan. The others -- his fellow Jews -- took him for granted. I suspect that Jesus was hurt by their unthankful attitudes. Their relationship was out of balance -- Their failure to thank Jesus exhibited bad manners. -- yes bad manners. The healed lepers could not possibly equal what Jesus did for them. A thank you, a good deed done in the name of Jesus for another person, a donation of time, talent or treasure would show thankfulness and good manners.
I know my manners need polished off --- sanctification is a slower process for some of us..
I believe that that God made and owns everything. I try to remember to thank Him in prayer. I strive to remember that He has given me the ability to produce wealth.I believe that my donations of time, talent, or treasure are thankful responses to His gifts. God can survive without my help -- He will get it from someone else --- If I don’t help I will not experience the joy of working for His kingdom and taking without giving is bad manners.
I pray about this -- I pray for balance in my relationship with God and with people.