Jump Start # 1953
2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
This week we have been talking about balance. We understand this in other areas of our life. When our tires are out of balance, it sure makes the journey bumpy. We balance our checkbooks. We try to have a balanced diet. We juggle and balance our schedules, running kids to practice, the dog to the vet and picking up a few groceries on the way home. Balance is important in life.
There are areas of spiritual balance that are important. Let me share a few with you.
Balance in preaching. This is important for us preachers to get. Some do better than others with this. First, there is the balance with what we preach and teach. Not just negative and positive, which is important but the very topics we bring to the pulpit. We need to preach what is needed for that audience. Jesus always did that. It’s easy to spend 26 weeks preaching about the family. But there’s more to our journey than just family. There are some folks in the pews who have no family. Talking about the church is essential, but not all the time. We need Jesus, that’s for certain, but there are still other things. Explain the text. Answer common questions. Persuade men. Balance in what you are preaching. Make it useful, practical, relevant and helpful. Sermons are more than college lectures. They are faith building. They are leading people to a better understanding about Christ. You are moving people to be closer to the Lord.
Second, with preachers, is the balance between studying and being with people. That’s a hard one. This one brings grief and guilt to most of us. Too much time in the books and we don’t know the people and our lessons may be out of touch with what is going on in their lives. Too much time with the people and our sermons suffer. They lack substance and depth. It’s a balance. Being with people and being with the Word of God. Some like to study more than they like being with people. For others, it’s just the opposite. It’s not a choice, it’s a balance.
Balance among shepherds. Paul told the elders at Ephesus to “be on guard for yourselves and for the flock…” Be on guard. For yourselves and for the flock—there is a balance concept found in that. Shepherds have to balance their work. All planning for the future may miss some things that need their attention right now. Only working with problems will miss those that do not have problems but still need to be fed, led and encouraged. Balance in their approach with the flock. They don’t want to come across as the mean and bad guys. They are shepherds who are to be loved, trusted and followed.
Balance in our work as a church. It’s easy to focus only on evangelism. Seek and save the lost. Very important. But if the new Christian isn’t developed and taught, he may immediately return back to the world. Encouragement is important. It’s one way we strengthen one another. But encouragement only, will not save the lost. They need to be taught. Balance. Balance in what we do. Balance in our time. Balance in our focus.
It would be wonderful if the Lord just gave us weekly schedules. Pray for these people on Monday. On Tuesday do this. Preacher, here is your topic for Sunday. Elders, here is what you need to do this week. Oh, life would be simple if we just had it all printed out, nice and neat. But life isn’t like that. Things happen. Some things need attention immediately. Some problems pull all of our resources and energy. The key to balance is to always be looking at what you are doing. Make adjustments, just like you do when you are driving down the highway. Your car drifts a little to the right, so you turn your steering wheel a bit to the left. Too much, and you must make adjustments the other way. We do this because we are always looking at the road. Our eyes are on the road. It’s the distracted driver that drifts across the center line and has a crash. So, you are I are always looking at what we are doing. Maybe, Mr. Preacher, you have been out too many nights lately and you need to spend some time with the family at home. Adjustment. Maybe you’ve been preaching a lot on problems. Working on those things pretty hard. Maybe it’s time for an adjustment. Elders will look at what has been taught. Maybe a lot of topics lately and we need to get back to some textual studies. Adjustments.
Balance—we need this in our lives. We can tell when we feel like we are drifting from God or each other. It’s time for some adjustments. We know when we feel a bit distant from our spouse. Adjustment time. We know when we feel a bit out of touch with the church. Adjustments. A little to the left and a little to right to keep us going in the right direction. Our work is not just in one sphere. Our efforts are not just in one place. Balance. It’s hard to keep that balance.
This is a life long endeavor. The more hats you wear and the more you take on, the harder it is to keep balanced. It can be done, it just takes some effort.
Keep your eyes on the road. See where you are going. Make adjustments to keep you going in the right direction.