I have always tried to eat healthy. Now, there are some uncharitable souls who might say that it would be more “healthy” if I ate less, but that is a topic for another time. When I was a boy and my family was sitting around the dinner table, it would not be unusual for me to fill my plate with a heaping portion of “seconds” . . . only to get halfway through Round Two and find myself feeling very full indeed! At that point, I would look guiltily up at my mom, who would smile gently and say, “What’s wrong, son? Were your eyes bigger than your stomach?” What she meant, of course, was that my helping of “more” looked great to my eyes, but it was actually a great deal more than my stomach could actually take in!
I have often recalled Momma’s words in recent years—not at dinner time, but, oddly enough, when doing the work of ministry, especially since planting Cross Community Church in March of 2012. I long ago lost count of the number of times I dove headlong into multiple ministry projects, utterly confident that they were all great things to do. They looked great—and indeed, they were great—but together they were actually a great deal more than I could accomplish! In my stubborn determination not to admit that my eyes had been bigger than my “stomach,” I have frequently heaped my “to-do” plate far too full. I’ve worn myself down at times; worse still, I’ve worn down my wife, my family, and those who share in the work of ministry with me.
But thank God! He has not left me to myself. He has surrounded me with good and godly people (beginning with Kim, my beloved wife) who tells me, “Tommy, there is more to life than increasing its speed!”
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What does the worker gain from his toil? (Ecclesiastes 3:1-9)
What a question the wise preacher left us with! We see here a beautifully balanced portion of Scripture, which makes it crystal clear that our time—all of our time—is in the hands of the Almighty. Each one of us has been given the same amount of time: 24 hours each day, 168 hours each week. That is God’s gift to us. Our gift back to Him is in how we use it.
We are to understand the biblical truth that says,
A life without balance . . . leads to an unbalanced life!
So . . . how do we keep our eyes from getting too big? The key is to keep them fixed on the Author and Finisher of our faith. We can get so focused on ministry that we can miss our Master. What we must remember is there is a time for serving and a time for sitting; if we neglect the latter, the former will suffer . . . and so will everyone around us!
I thank my God for bringing people into my life who remind me of this incredibly important biblical truth. And I pray that this word of encouragement will be a reminder for you to maintain that biblical balance too.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!