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Reisterstown United Methodist Church

Balancing My Time and Investment

Last Sunday I began the message with this statement:
Time is a valuable commodity. It’s one thing that is bestowed on all of us in equal measure. And we all have complete freedom in how we use it – how we invest it – and our lives pretty much are shaped by what we do with it. The Thought for the Day really captures the essence—the importance of seeing how we use time as an investment:

What comes first, the compass or the clock? Before one can truly manage time (the clock), it is important to know where you are going, what your priorities and goals are, in which direction you are headed (the compass). Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. Rather than always focusing on what’s urgent, learn to focus on what is really important.

Then we talked about how to invest our time based on our compass, including investing time in caring for our shared faith family life.

Today I want to follow up with a few thoughts on balance, guided by several clues in the passage by the Apostle Paul which I am taking in reverse order! – first in verse 4:

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body.

The Body of Christ has a wondrous balance in its very makeup. It takes us all – the gifts that God gave each of us – to BE the Body. We are not individually all there is. We are a part of something much larger, and being a part of something larger means we don’t have to do it alone. And more than that, it means that the whole is much, much more than either a single part could ever be and even much, much more than just a sum of the individual parts.

Another clue comes in verse 3:

…it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves within the Body is by what God is and by what God does for us, not by what we are and what we do for God.

Our participation in the Body – the full wonder of the Body of Christ – is a reflection of God’s goodness to us, not the other way around. We are fully God’s and fully a reflection of God when what we do is an offering of thanks and praise for what God has done for US – rather than a show of how talented and special I am.

The Apostle Paul was teaching the church at Rome how to be the Body of Christ – how to reflect the goodness and love and image of God in the world. He wrote in verses 1-2:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for God. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Last week I talked about serving God through service to others and service to the church. My hope is that we will all find our place in the Body. And my prayer is that we find our place in such a way that we also find balance in our lives. It may sound as though I’m asking you to do more, more, more. I am hoping that we all find balance.

Don’t we often see balance as just keeping the plates spinning and hoping against hope that we don’t have too many crashes?

I know that there are far too many times in my life when I feel like this:

That photo terrifies me! Does it reflect the kind of life that you think comes from God’s goodness? One misstep leads to death. That’s just backwards! God’s desire for us is life abundant – not a dive into an abyss!

What might it look like if life is in balance with God’s goodness:
When we balance our investment of time with the compass of God’s direction in our lives, we find peace. We thrive. Life abundant.

Balance is multi-faceted, and as disciples of Christ, the compass – the direction – is set on God. For our purposes today, consider just one aspect for a moment – that is intentionally serving God by serving the Body within (in other words caring for each other) and by serving the Body in the community – caring for our neighbors.

I love that there are 4 rocks and a foundation in that photo – different sizes and shapes but each part of the beauty of the sculpture. Paul is not suggesting that we only serve others or the church. Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Each piece is necessary for balance. Life abundant is a life in balance. When one piece gets out of whack, out of balance, out of proportion, the whole feels a whole lot different – individually and corporately

Are you in balance? Are you following your compass and incorporating service to God and to the Body into the fabric of your life? Does service to God and the Body get short shrift when there is too much else to balance? You will have an opportunity today to sign up for an hour or a few hours to do some of our “family chores.” And you can also let me know through the nominations survey if you are feeling called to serve on a ministry team.

One of our young people was faced with quite a dilemma about a year ago. Obviously, the young person wanted to fulfill the obligations that go along with being part of an elite, highly competitive team. She is extremely talented. The coach told the team that their practices would now be on Sunday mornings. Wait – this is NOT a tirade against sports and Sunday practices!

In the conversation, the young person told the coach that church is important to her. The coach’s reply was, “Church? Do people still do that?” There was one thing of importance to the coach. One thing. Not hard to balance one thing. But life abundant? The satisfaction of being an integral part of something bigger than oneself – part of something eternal, part of the awesome Body of Christ? I wonder.

We all have the same amount of time. What kind of balance will you choose?

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