We need to balance our work and family life. We need to balance ministry in our community with ministry at our church. We need to balance our budget. We need a balanced diet.
Something is wrong in your life? You are out of balance.
And that has me wondering. Is the very concept of balance a Christian concept or an Asian philosophy of Yin and yang?
When I look at the New Testament I see Jesus calling men and women to a holy imbalance. He asked his first disciples, who asked their disciples, to leave everything for the Kingdom of God.
Some Examples of Imbalance Celebrated
- Luke 5:1-10 – Jesus first asks Peter, James, and John to waste their time fishing in the wrong conditions. Than he asks them to leave their home, business, and everything they knew to follow him. Those nets, that boat, and the business all rotted.
- Luke 9:23 – “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.“
- Matthew 26:6-13 – A woman pours expensive perfume on Jesus, his disciples called that a horrible imbalance and Jesus affirmed her. “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
- Acts 5:1-11 – Dave Ramsey would have affirmed Ananias and Sapphira for their financial wisdom. They held a little back just in case. The Apostles weren’t interested in balanced devotion, they demanded all or nothing.
- Acts 7 – Stephen had an opportunity to defuse the anger of those in power, you know, balance things out. Instead he threw gasoline on the fire and was stoned.
There are hundreds more examples of this. The New Testament church embraced imbalance! It was celebrated. A call to follow Christ was extreme, never safe, and put your life permanently and joyfully horribly out of balance.
The very concept of balance is an avoidance of extremes. It’s holding something back. In many ways, our avoidance of extremes and calls for balance is the very thing that prevents us from truly experiencing the fullness of the weight of the cross on our shoulders.
If you ask me we need to ask people to count the cost. We need to call people not to a cheap version of discipleship but to one that is extremely out of balance. Jesus didn’t call us to balance. He calls us to pick up the cross– an instrument of death– and daily follow him.
“Christianity preaches the infinite worth of that which is seemingly worthless and the infinite worthlessness of that which is seemingly so valued.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer