Finding a Balance Between Work and Worship

by | Aug 10, 2016

Blog Balance

I love teetertotters…

My sister and I used to play for hours on an old wood plank clamped to a metal bar at the church camp we attended every summer.

Being older, I was the heaviest, so I had to scoot up several inches while she sat on the very edge. Then we were ready to go.

Back and forth, up and down, through sun-speckled July afternoons we’d teetertotter amid the pine trees of Glacier Bible Camp. But we especially enjoyed finding that perfect spot of synchronicity—scooting around until both of our ends were suspended in midair.

Pure, exquisite balance.

The Pivot Point

I wonder if God had teetertotters in mind when He placed Luke’s story of Mary and Martha between two famous passages: the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) and Christ’s teaching on the Lord’s Prayer (11:1-4).

One deals with our relationship with people. The other deals with our relationship with God. One teaches us how to serve. The other teaches us how to pray. One breaks down the wall that divides cultures. The other breaks down the wall that divides God and humanity.

Perhaps that is why this tiny section of Scripture is so important. In Luke’s story of two women and one Savior we find the fulcrum, the pivot point of our spiritual teetertotters—the secret of balancing the practical with the spiritual, and duties with devotion. 

Teeter Totters

Without a fulcrum, these stories are two separate wooden planks. Both are important. Both are true.

But when we place the fundamental truths of service and prayer on the pivot point of practicality—when we get down to the company’s-here-and-what-do-I-do? application, the fun really begins.

How Do You Read It?

I believe Jesus gave us a picture of what our teetertotter of work and worship should look like in Luke 10:25-28, a familiar portion of the Torah quoted in an exchange between Jesus and a religious expert.

“What must I do to inherit eternal life?” an expert in the law asked.

“What is written in the Law?” Jesus asked. “How do you read it?”

I can almost hear the lawyer’s voice deepen as he gathered his robes around him and assumed the proper posture for quoting Scripture.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and “Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27).

I can almost see Jesus smile and nod as He said, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”

You see, loving the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself was and is the very thing God has always wanted us to do—it’s a perfect picture of the perfectly balanced life. These two verses sum up all of the Old Testament and the New Testament combined (Matthew 22:40).

God wants us to love Him. Really love Him. Share on X

And He wants us to love each other. Really love each other. That’s how we can know we belong to Him—if we have love one for another (John 13:35).

Love for God. Love for others. Worship and service.

These are the two ends of our teetertotter. Though love for God comes first, the two can’t be separated. One flows from the other—and back again.

That’s what it means to live a balanced life, a Christlike life.

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World

I’d love to hear from you…Imagine your teeter-totter. Which way does it currently tilt – toward worship or service? What could you do to create a better balance?

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