When I was a teenager, one of my first jobs was working at a gas station. I had various duties, but one of them was to balance and rotate tires on cars. Later on I had a job working in the Tire Department of a major department store and I was again rotating and balancing tires. I learned that the benefit of this would extend the life of the tires and the ride would be smoother.
Our life is similar to this vehicle maintenance practice in that we need balance in all areas of our lives. Why? So our life will be smoother and perhaps even extend our time here on earth.
Proverbs 25:16 NIV reads, “If you find honey, eat just enough, too much of it, and you will vomit.”
Honey is good for you. It has some health benefits. But if you eat too much of it, as the scripture says, you will vomit. Too much of a good thing is actually bad for you. There are consequences for your action. I believe the lesson from this verse is that we need to live a balanced life, moderation if you will.
So, what does living a balanced life mean and why is it important? Let’s look at four areas of your life and look at them if taken to an extreme—work, recreation, education, and religion.
We all know of people who are obsessed with work. They go to work early and leave late. Their family is neglected. Even when they are with their family, their thoughts are on work. Vacations and days off are never on their radar. Then, we have just the opposite. People who never work and often depend on others for their livelihood. They are perfectly content to let others provide for them. Both of these are not how life is meant to be. Work is ordained in the Bible. Scripture also says that God works. Work is honorable and necessary. But even God says to take a day off, just as He did when He created heaven and the earth. It recharges us. Jesus also spent time in the garden, on the lake, and at the mountains. We should all learn from their lessons.
The same principle applies in the area of recreation. Everyone needs that certain something in their life that helps them relax and get away from the problems of everyday life. But, we need to be cautious that it doesn’t dominate our life. You are a servant to anything that controls you. It is your master. What we need is to make things our servant and not let it become our master.
There is a News Correspondent that often appears on television. He also writes an Editorial that appears weekly in many major newspapers across the nation. I have tried to read his editorials, but he uses words that I don’t understand. They aren’t words used in every day conversation, so I have quit reading his columns. Maybe the problem is that I am not well educated. Or it could be that he applies his education in a way that is not beneficial to the general population. I have, also, seen people that continually go to college, but they never apply what they have learned. Knowledge without application is no better than not having knowledge.
On the other hand, there are people that are uneducated. Many times to the point that they are dependent upon society for their support. And they never contribute anything for the betterment of others.
Please don’t misunderstand what I am stating here. I am a firm believer in education and the pursuit of wisdom. I believe it is what makes one person more successful than another. Proverbs 24:5 reads, “A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength.” There is power and strength in being educated. What I am saying is that a proper balance is needed in the lives of both of these types of individuals.
The same thing applies to religion. There are some people who flaunt their religion so much that others will avoid them. They are just not enjoyable to be around and it will even hurt their Christian witness. On the other hand, there are those that religion means nothing to them. These are also people we will avoid. Let me state, there is a great difference in being religious and being spiritual. The Pharisees and Sadducees were religious, but Jesus condemned them because their hearts were not right with God. Balance is the key.
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus tells us to not worry about what we should eat, drink, or what we should wear, because God will provide those things for us. Some people read those verses and believe they can just set back and God is going to place those things in the lap. That they have no need to work or be a good steward of what God has given them. Throughout the Book of Proverbs, Solomon condemned the sluggard. Also in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV), Paul instructs us, “For even, when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” A thought question would be, “What bring more glory to God, someone that never works or contributes to society, saying God will provide. Or the person that takes the gifts, abilities, and opportunities God has given him or her, and faithfully utilizes them to the benefit of themselves and others?”
Let me state here, that I do not in any manner profess to have any insight into the mind of God. But let me give you something to consider when studying this passage of Scripture.
The first word in verse 25 is “Therefore”. This is a key word. It takes us back to the previous words of Jesus in verses 19-24, where He instructs us to build our treasures in heaven. He also concludes this passage in verse 24 (NIV), where He says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” So often, when we read this text, we have a tendency to separate the first part about building our treasures in heaven and serving two master from the second part about not worrying about tomorrow. I think they are to be considered together as one thought. One builds on the other. One explains or gives clarity to the other. They give support to what Jesus is instructing.
Jesus concludes His teaching here when He instructs us in verse 33 (NIV) stating, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” I believe what Jesus is saying is that God wants our heart first. He is to be our Master and we are to love Him with all of our heart. He wants us to build our treasures in heaven and to glorify Him with our time, talents, money, and gifts. On a personal basis, I really don’t know what the treasures in heaven will be, but I want them.
When we take all of this passage, from verses 19-34, we must keep it all in context of what Jesus is teaching us. And a part of his teaching is living a balanced life. To keep our priorities straight and focused on serving God.
1 Timothy 6:17-20a, tells us how we can specifically build our treasures in heaven. And it concludes with this command in verse 20a (KJV), “O Timothy (substitute your name here), keep that which is committed to thy trust.” This means we are to be a good steward or Trustee of the things God has entrusted to us.
So, what does all of this mean to each of us individually? God wants our heart. He wants us to love Him and to place our lives in His hands. He also wants us to be a good and faithful servant and steward.
There are so many areas of life that can get out of balance. Accordingly, each of us has a different area of weakness in which we can have excess and the end result can be harmful. As too much honey is not good for you, we must strive to keep balance in our life as we place our focus on making God our Master and serve none other than Him.