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July 10, 2014

MAY: Finding a balance

Watching the World Cup match between Germany and Brazil, the world simply seemed out of balance. Brazil lost at home for the first time since the mid 1970s.

Sports commentators proclaimed that it was the most shameful defeat in World Cup history. The team that was supposed to win it all was defeated — and defeated soundly.

During the match, as the cameras would pan into the stands, the devastated look on the faces of the natives was sobering. Anguish. Shock. Anger. Humiliation. The emotions were etched all the way from their faces to their hearts.

The watching world was stunned as fan Samir Kelvin clung to a street light pole and to the world lamented that, “I am Brazilian and humiliated. I want to kill myself.”

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff expressed the incredible emotions, but tried to shed a glimmer of hope’s light.

“Like every Brazilian, I am very, very sad about this defeat. I am immensely sorry for all of us. Fans and our players.”

She then challenged the team and her nation to pick itself up and to move on.

While the plight of our life may not be as dramatic as Brazilian futbol, most of us can relate to the feeling that it would not take much wind to begin a tumbling, domino-effect upon the pillars of our existence. How do we properly balance health, family, career and finances? Is there a formula that will guarantee our success without dooming our sanity?

In the small book of Colossians, Paul gives a glimpse of godly principles for balance — a plan to manage time, efforts and energy in a positive way. First, he says to spend time learning.

“Let the words of Christ live in your hearts and make you wise” (Colossians 3:16 NLT). Even if you are an expert in your field, continue to stretch yourself by learning. Allow godly truths to shape who you are, how you live, and the way you think.

Wisdom takes time — a commodity that is scarce in our day. Most of life requires the pace of a sprint. And it demands that decisions be made at the same break-neck speed. Wisdom cooks in a crock pot, not a microwave.

Second, spend time loving your Creator. Express that love through praise and thankfulness. Be grateful to God for your gifts and talents and wisdom. Let love rule in your life. Love Him with all your mind and soul and strength. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Keep your spirit humble by realizing that you are a servant, not the master.

Finally, spend time launching your love into actions.

“Whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17 NLT). If you are an athlete, run the race as if you were running alongside the Almighty. If you are a salesperson, sell with the passion and integrity that would be the mark of God himself. If you are a parent, love and instruct your child as if he were the very son of God. Live your life balanced by allowing God to be the thread that runs through it all.

Vacation and the ocean give me the chance to restore balance in my life. I am able to rethink my dreams, reorder my priorities and re-energize my resolve. We need times in our lives to pause and restore balance, to reconsider the place of God in our lives, and then to move on.

— Tom May is the Minister of Discipleship at Eastside Christian Church in Jeffersonville. He is an adjunct instructor in the Communications Department at Indiana University Southeast. Reach him at tgmay001@gmail.com

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