Those that appeal for balance emphasize leisure, talk about risk analysis, and praise stability. In a word, balance is equated with wisdom. Those living at extremes emphasize commitment, going all-out, and praise bedlam. In a word, extremes are equated with crazies.
It is a lot easier to make a case for living at extremes—full devotion, total trust, working long and hard—than it is for living a “balanced” life. The Bible doesn’t provide a lot of illustrations for a balanced approach to much of anything. People talk about the elusive work-life balance. The ratio for work-life (although work-life is a false biblical dichotomy) is 6:1. That’s way off-balance. Some have pointed to passages like “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life” (1 Thess 4:11) to claim we should be all about leisure. The context of that passage is missed, involving working with one’s hands and minding one’s own business.
I’m not sure some of the phrases we use with balance are all that appropriate, like doctrinally balanced, biblically balanced, or living balanced. I can think of a bunch of passages that speak of full-bore engagement, namely, the command Jesus put at the top of the list: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Notice how he tacked on that prepositional phrase “with all your” before each one. Another passage that comes to mind, because I was reading it this morning is Psalm 119. That guy was intense. He loved expressing living at extremes. He repeatedly talked about doing whatever he was promising with his whole heart, being consumed, going all day long. Not a poster child for balance.
What is the grid through which you filter your choices, commitments and cares? What part of your life are you holding back in the name of balance?