Ecclesiastes 3:1 | Psalm 127:2 | Matthew 6:33 | Ecclesiastes 12:12
How much is too much?
We’re talking about balance here, but don’t go nuts trying to achieve balance. It’s a key ingredient in a healthy life, but it’s not the key to your life.
In this episode, Alex loves baseball. It is fun for him. Studying, on the other hand…that’s work. Lawrence wisely recounts these words from Ecclesiastes:
For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth…(Ecclesiastes 3:1 NET)
This well known passage of scripture goes on to offer pairs of opposite activities–planting and harvesting, birth and dying–explaining that each one has its time. It paints a picture of balance, showing that both extremes have their places in our lives.
When considering life balance, it is easy to say, “I need that!” then punch its address into your mental GPS and start driving toward it. If that’s what you’re planning… Tap your brakes!
Seeking balance is a mistake. Here are some reasons why.
First, when you look back on the last however-many years of your life, do want to say, “I’ve lived a well-balanced life. Not too great, and not too bad, either”? Sounds kind of mediocre, doesn’t it? Warning: pursuing balance may lead to a bunch of hemming, hawing, and lukewarm decisions.
Second, you need to understand that the type of balance Lawrence and Alex discussed is what some people call a “work-life balance,” with obligations on one side of the scale, and recreation on the other. It is what-you-have-to-do versus what-you-want-to-do. Many people get so focused on achievement, they lose sight of what brings them joy.
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.(Psalm 127:2 NLT)
More importantly, nowhere in scripture does God advise us to seek balance. Jesus said:
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.(Matthew 6:33 NLT)
Pursue God’s Kingdom and righteousness. God will fill in whatever is missing, because he loves you and wants great things for you. He won’t ask you to work harder than you need to, because he loves you.
So keep a good balance between doing what you want and doing what you have to. And watch out that you don’t overdo things the opposite way of how Alex did. The writer of Ecclesiastes cautions against that too…
But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.(Ecclesiastes 12:12 NLT)
Questions for Group Discussion
- “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Would you agree? Is this statement backed by scripture?
- How do you think God feels about balancing work and recreation? What does God’s commandment about keeping the Sabbath holy say about his attitude toward rest? What other evidence can you find to answer this question?
- Have you ever felt overworked? Aside from being tired, what bothered you about it?
- Have you ever been bored by not having enough work to do? Is this even possible?
Application: How Much is Too Much?
Let’s attempt to do the unthinkable: let’s define how much work and play are too much.
The work part seems easy enough, but can there be too much play? Of course there can…didn’t you see The Superbook Show episode with Lawrence and Alex?
For this exercise, list the following:
- 5 Signs you are working too much / too hard (either or both)
- 5 Signs you are playing too much / too hard
- 2 Ideas of what to do for each case (too much work, too much play) for a total of 4 ideas
Lord, thank you for giving me work to do, ways to relax, and time to rest. Please help me to seek your kingdom before everything else–accomplishments in work or play. Thank you for giving me what I really want and need, and for caring about me as a whole person, who wants to serve you and who also wants to have fun. In Jesus’ name, Amen.