Well my friends we are entering our third week of the “Balance” series. I don’t know about you but I’m feeling a little more balanced each week as we address these scriptures. Balance is a good thing and something we should continue to strive for, but as is often the case, we get comfortable with our balance.
What happens when we get comfortable? We lose our balance!! We tend to swerve and become one-sided and eventually tip over! So it becomes a daily practice to continue to seek our balance.
Let Us Pray: Almighty God, may the words of my mouth, the meditations of our hearts, and the fellowship of our lips be acceptable in your sight O God, for you are our Strength and our Redeemer. AMEN.
This week we are going to seek balance between God and home.
I think one of the issues we have with balance in the Christian tradition is that we tend to put our focus on the religious aspects and not on the balance of everyday life. We become “one-sided” and start to swerve.
But today, we see the pendulum swing back to the balance of home life, work, and God. That is not to say that work and home life are not religious, but it constitutes a different venue that is vitally important in the area of our faith life and balance.
I come from a family of carpenters, cabinet makers, draftsmen, and artists. In other words there is not a lot of margin for error in my family tree. My father is a custom cabinet maker, a perfectionist! Now, I’m a detail person but I’m not what you would call a perfectionist. My dad, on the other hand, was the man who “invented the tape measure”, so to speak. That is how he lived his life for many years. Now, that is not a bad thing, but it was very calculated. I have learned a lot from that type of living. I have learned how necessary it is to have a builder who knows what they are doing!!
In the 127th Psalm we see how important it is to have the Master Builder- God build the house, to lay the plans, to oversee the construction, and to make sure the plans are carried out to the detail!! We hear in verse 1 that unless “the Lord” builds your house, those who attempt to build it, build (or labor) in vain”. What the Psalmist is concerned with here is that if “we try to labor in making our houses work- we will fail”, we must have God’s plan in place and working!! God must be the Master Builder!!
We hear the realization that as mere mortals, we will fail in the construction of our family life, both physical and spiritual.
We spend a great deal of time trying to “do it right” on our own accord!! We are the “fix it” generation and culture, we always have been.
One preacher puts it this way, “It is so easy to get caught up in the worldly “rat race” to keep getting more and more stuff; working 12 hour days or husbands and wives both dashing off to jobs that will keep them in a lifestyle that matches the neighbor or that will get them more things to keep the happy veneer intact”. (Leventhal, Barry, Ph.d., Two Becoming One).
The problem then becomes “imbalance” because all of these pursuits will never give us that joy and love fulfillment that God gives to us in so many “gifts of grace” or as John Wesley put it, as with so many “means of grace”; ways by which a person could come to know and realize that God is meeting them where they are in their life!!!
God provides so much for us in this “balance of building”- proper seasons of rest and recovery to recuperate and regain strength in order that one can be strong in what is needed. It is no surprise that so many “houses”- family units collapse under this stress because they don’t seek to obtain and receive these gifts of balance when under stress or even take the time during the normal work day!! This is an everyday practice my friends, this is not something you can “pick and choose”!!
Part of the balance is working to seek the Glory of God who helps us put the brakes on the “rat race” and fast pace in life.
In the balance between home, God, and self comes an element of “TRUST”!! Trust in a God that will provide for us all that we will ever need!! But at the same time God places a trust in us that we have to work our part of the “balance plan”, we have a part of the plan that requires us to work diligently on our part of the plan.
Again, we are a culture, a people, who would rather “have it done for us”, rather than do it ourselves. We tend to be a people who struggle with this understanding of work.
A friend of mine shared a story with me a couple of weeks ago that I think helps us understand this concept.
A carpenter walked onto a job site of large construction company and handed the foreman his resume’ and application. As the foreman scanned the worker’s application he noticed he hadn’t been able to keep a job. The foreman remarked to the carpenter, your work history is terrible, you have been fired from every job!! Yes, said the carpenter, the foreman replied, there is not much positive in that!!! The carpenter replied, Hey, at least I’m not a quitter!!
Many of us act like a quitter because we don’t want to invest in the hard work of building a house (a family) that is pleasing to God!! It becomes a balance that requires us to work and to allow God be the Master Builder with the Master Plan!!
Building a family is hard work!!! The balance is not easy!! It is a daily task. It also becomes a task of the community, the community of faith!!
In the last portion of this Psalm this morning we hear the necessity of a heritage to follow. There are a lot of commentary concerns about this part of the passage, but what I firmly believe the Psalmist is concerned with as we strive to find this balance in living under the Master Builder, is to work to make sure that it is passed on from generation to generation!!!
My father has worked hard to make sure that my “perfection” skills become better over time. I am trying to make sure that Thompson’s skills are better perfected over time. But the great concern of the Holy Scripture here is that we must have faith in that we strive every day to find that balance in our “house”. To pass that balance on through time, from generation to generation!! From one church generation to another!! That we are faithful to the family and Kingdom of God!!
Our call, our mission as the Community of Faith is to make sure that “Our House” is built in order that someone else wants to copy the plans!!! That my friends, is the TRUE BALANCE THAT GOD INTENDS FOR US TO ACHIEVE!!!
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. AMEN.