Friday, June 28, 2013

Margin- Chapter 13

A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)

Chapter 13: "Health Through Balance"

- He brought out a good point that excellence is often only seen in one area.  Recent examples: Tiger Woods- outstanding career as golfer, horrible failure in family; Aaron Hernandez- successfully football career so far, charged with murder; Jack Schaap- much influence in ministry, committed criminal adultery.  We may achieve the "success" we wanted in an area, but realize at that moment that we also achieved an alarming failure in other areas.

- We, as preachers are susceptible to this temptation of imbalance because we have a desire to be used by God and to see Him work through us.  It is easy to want to be a successful preacher and focus on that to the exclusion of other responsibilities.

- His explanation of priorities was helpful for me.  He said that when we talk about time, we do need to list things at times.  However, in general, he said we need to look at priorities as a wheel: God is the center and the other things in life are the spokes.  If we just look at a list, we would always choose spouse over work.  If we always choose that, we will be looking for another job (or our spouse may want to!).  However, with the "wheel" concept in mind we will realize that 1) everything is anchored in God, and 2) each area will have its time when it is chosen over other areas.

- "Balance cannot be achieved unless we are willing to say No."  (Page 189)  BOOM!!  Who else is in the process of learning so say this little word?

- When trying to balance things, we cannot simply say, "I'm going to start doing this, this and this, and then I'll be balanced."  Right now, our time is already being used.  In order to add things, we most likely will need to take away things first.  That is the hardest part, in my opinion, because we see the importance of everything we do.  However, we may need to set aside some "little rocks" to get the "big rocks" in.

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapter 12
Discussion on Chapter 14


  1. Two thoughts impressed me this morning.
    1. We need to get control of things. We need to regain control of our schedules and time. Instead of being reactive, be proactive. That is the only way to ensure the areas of responsibility are given the proper time and attention. I agree with you Bro Jacob, we need to take away things from our schedule to do the right things.

    2. The illustration of God at the center instead of head of the list. I thought it was a good way to describe our priorities. Yes, God is always #1, but this illustration really places Him at the center of everything in our lives. Because God is a priority my family, His church and His Word are all priorities that I must spend time on. God is the reason for all my activity, not the first thing that I do on my list.

    Appreciate the comments Jacob on the area of excellence. Maybe we could strive to be excellent in balance?

    1. PS. Its good to be back into the book after a busy time. Really enjoyed this chapter.

  2. For me, this chapter was helpful in shedding light on a possible (or probable) danger in desiring to be like the best in certain fields. The author shed light in the shadow of greatness to reveal the sacrifices in attaining that greatness.

    -"Our rush toward excellence in one quadrant of life must not be permitted to cause destruction in another." (pg. 185). This reminded me of people like Billy Sunday, David Livingstone, and others who have made it into the spotlight of Christianity but lost their families.

    -I found his chart showing the lives of those deemed excellent in one area of life but failing in others to be helpful. For me, his charts helped me see the greater need to strive for balance rather than excellence in one area.

    -"As a consequence, no outstanding level of excellence has been achieved. On the other hand, no failure has been experienced either." (pg. 187) For me this was helpful to read. I am tempted at times to look at what other missionaries have done and feel guilty for not having accomplished as much as them in the time-frame that they did. This was a good reminder that sometimes in the wake of these visible successes there lays hidden failures. I don't mean this for the purpose of judging others but to not judge myself based upon others successes. I give an account to God, not other people.

    -Jacob, yeah, I would agree that learning to say no is one of life's most important lessons.

    -"When we understand that we are finite and that it is okay to be finite, then we can begin to accept our limits with comfort." (pg.192) Thought this was good, too.