But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Balance is a concept highly valued by many in our culture. The health conscious like to plan a well-balanced diet, strategic coaches strive for a balanced offensive attack, and a committed spouse or parent often work towards a balanced schedule in hopes of livable structure or perhaps a semblance of sanity. I was once in a young dad’s group that raised the question, how can we more effectively balance our lives to become better husbands and fathers? After lengthy discussion, recognizing the ever-increasing demands on our schedules, we all came to conclusion that balance seemed to be an impossible expectation for any of us at this stage in life. With “balance” seemingly off the table as a realistic goal, we began to discuss how our faith might be able to guide us in this challenge.
What does the Bible have to say about balance? Our young dad’s group turned to the life and ministry of Jesus. Was balance a priority in His life? Would His ministry demands consistently lend itself to three square meals per day and eight hours of sleep at night? Is it at all possible that Jesus could have related with feeling tired or worn out by a demanding day of work or travel? Consider the schedule our Savior experienced during His three-year public ministry stint- there were disciples to train, religious leaders to engage, regions to evangelize, and vast crowds with never-ending ministry requests. Our group concluded that the biblical accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry do not seem to point towards a balanced schedule. Instead, Jesus seemed to model a prioritized life. He kept first things first- regularly withdrawing from the crowds to spend time with the Father. He was intentional with His leadership team, spending intimate time mentoring and equipping His inner-circle to help multiply the ministry. Jesus modelled the importance of strategic planning (two-by-two evangelism), yet was flexible enough to stop for ministry opportunities as varied as advocating for children or preaching to thousands. Ultimately, our conclusion was this: We young men, as husbands and fathers, should follow the example of Jesus and strive to live prioritized lives (vs. balance) that begins with our relationship to the Father.
- What commitments or demands do you find most challenging in your life?
- How intentional are you in establishing godly priorities?
- Would your closest family members or friends attest that your faith comes first in your life? (Above works, sports, play, etc.) If so, how might they see this?
- When do you withdrawal to spend time with God? How could you improve or grow in this practice?