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To Keep Your Balance, You Must Keep Moving

Albert Einstein once wrote, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." Pretty good advice. We have a dear woman in our church who is 95 years old, and she continues to mow her grass. I think she has given up shoveling snow, but when the weather is nice and the grass needs cutting, you’ll find her on her riding mower taking care of business. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

We have a man in our church, whom many of you reading this know, who retired at age eighty this past September. He still conducts most of the funerals at E91, actively teaches, does home communion, and visits the sick in the hospitals. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

When I served a church in Owensboro, KY, I often met with a business owner who was 92. His wife died, and a few years later he wanted my advice on some pre-marital counseling—for him and his new lady friend. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

At the age of eighty, Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt. Joshua was given the charge of leading the conquest of the land of Canaan during the last thirty years of his live (and he lived until he was 110). Caleb, Joshua’s fellow “spy,” was 85 years old when he said, “I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me…and I shall drive [the Anakim] out just as the Lord said” (Joshua 14:10-12). Some biblical scholars believe Daniel was well over eighty when he was thrown into a den of lions. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

Although I’m only about half way to the esteemed age of most of the aforementioned, I’m beginning to see how difficult it is to keep on moving. As the Steve Miller Band song goes, “Time keeps on slippin’.” Every person is different, and we all see life through our own unique filters of how God has shaped us, but are there some common themes on how to keep our balance and keep moving? Here are but a few suggestions:

  • Always believe that your best days are yet to come. For Christians, that statement is prima facie based on our biblical conviction that “there is laid up for [us] the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to [us] on that Day, and not only to [us] but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). We keep on moving, because we have a course set and destination in sight. The road may be long, and the pathway hard, but journey’s end will be worth it all.

  • Find your “herd.” There is a reason why gazelle, deer, antelope, zebra, and other such animals travel in herds. Alone, they don’t stand a chance. Together, they find protection, safety, and strength. Joshua had Caleb. Moses had Aaron. Daniel had Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. We need others to help us see what we don’t in order to find our balance and keep moving. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

  • Keep the main thing, the main thing. We are so easily distracted. We live in an attention-deficit-disorder society that keeps us chasing endlessly after the newest gadgets, the latest celebrity gossip, and the next person voted off the island. Distractions are Satan’s ploy to get us sidetracked on lesser things. When we get sidetracked, we end up standing around, because we’re no longer sure which way to go, and we begin to lose our balance.

I don’t know if I’ll make it to eighty, ninety, or (God forbid) Joshua’s ripe old age of 110. But however many years the good Lord gives me, may I remember to “number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). I pray that you, too, will keep on moving with your eyes on Jesus who truly is the Main Thing.

The Whole of Christianity is Jesus Christ

One of our elders has a daughter who lives with her family in Las Vegas. Since grandkids are involved, you know where this elder and his wife will be whenever possible. This past week, he sent several of us an email about his use of time in Las Vegas … and it wasn’t at the casinos! He spent time reading one of my favorite books, Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis.

I know I’ve shared recently about The Great Divorce also by C. S. Lewis, and I try not to get stuck on any one author or topic for too long, but Lewis is worth more than one measly blog post. The quote forwarded to me by this particular elder needs a little marinating in the mind. Lewis wrote:

May I come back to what I said before? This is the whole of Christianity. There is nothing else. It is so easy to get muddled about that. It is easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects—education, building, missions, holding services. Just as it is easy to think the State has a lot of different objects—military, political, economic, and what not. But in a way things are much simpler than that. The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden— that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time. In the same way the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Harper Collins: 1952, 2001, p. 199).

What is the “whole of Christianity”? The apostle Paul wrote, “But we preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23a). Later in the same letter, he stated, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (2:2). Going further into Paul’s letter, we read, “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (3:11). The whole of Christianity is Jesus Christ: who He is (the Son of God, John 20:31), what He has done (was crucified, buried, and rose again, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4), and why He has done this (to reconcile us to God, Colossians 1:19-20).

So then, what is the “whole of the church”? As Lewis points out, “the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs.” East 91st Street Christian Church, and all churches for that matter, exist to lead people to Jesus Christ, plain and simple. Everything else in the church hinges on that one central claim. Discipleship ministry exists, because we are helping people become “little Christs.” Small group ministry exists, because we are forming into smaller discipleship communities of “little Christs.” Worship ministry exists, because we are gathering together as “little Christs” to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ. Children’s ministry exists, because we are developing little, “little Christs.” And on and on I could go. As Lewis points out, it is very easy for us to get muddled about this and make the church about different objects—“education, building, missions, holding services.”

I encourage you to reflect on your role as a “little Christ.” What are you doing for the advancement of the “whole of Christianity”? What are you doing for the advancement of the “whole of the church,” wherever you call church home? May we all be about the Lord’s work, which is a “work of faith and labor of love” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). This is a rewarding work done “in power and in the Holy Spirit” (1:5) and which ultimately leads to joy (1:6).

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5).

And what a partnership it’s turning out to be!

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