Thursday, January 21, 2010

I've Got Things to Do; Why Would I Need Margin in My Life?

"Let's open up your Bibles to Luke 10...How many of you would say that you occasionally or always feel stressed?  How many people feel financial tension?  How many of you would say I wish I had more time to spend with my self of my family?"  Craig Groeschel of opens his series "Margin" with a message on the need for margin.  We live in a culture that pushes us to the limits.  Buy more.  Do more.  Accomplish more.   Conquer more.  Most of us are living at an unbiblical and unsustainable pace. Its insane what "normal" is today.  Even our kids will go out four or five nights a week doing their activities and we call that normal!  Our schedules are stressing us and our kids out!  Virtually everyone has little margin for error in the main areas of life.  Andy Stanley taught a series a called "Take It to the Limit" where he defined margin. 

Margin is the amount available beyond what is necessary. Andy Stanley

Margin is the difference between what you have and what you need. Craig Groeschel

How does margin lay out in life?  There's money left over at the end of the month.  It's leaving a few minutes early to be early for a meeting.  Margin is leaving more distance between you and temptation.  Margin is having the emotional capacity to deal with struggle.  Margin could be having 3 or 4 nights a week with nothing on your schedule.  Margin could be having extra time or money to invest or give to ministries.  Margin could be having time to reflect, think and meditate.  Margin could mean having significant time with God meditating on His Word  Simply put, margin is what most of us do not have.  "I am convinced that the best things in life happen in margin," says Craig.

Luke 10:38-42 is a great story about two different woman who dealt differently on the subject of margin.  As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

It's interesting.  We have two women with the exact same opportunity.  Despite what she may have had to do, Mary took an opportunity to sit at Jesus' (the son of God's) feet.  But Martha created things to do.  She chose to be busy and to find things to do that were a distraction from Jesus. She may have been distracted by good things to do, but she was distracted from the best things. 

If Satan cannot make us really, really bad, he'll make us really, really busy.  Unknown

Recently, Craig went on a "staycation" or a vacation where he stayed home.  On the first day, Craig thought of things he needed to do at the church.  So, he went into his home office and began working.  "Bukie", his youngest son, came into his office and asked Craig if he would wrestle.  Craig dismissed Bukie, but then God whispered, "Bukie is not the distraction Craig, your work is." 

In verse 40, Martha asks Jesus is he doesn't care that her sister has left her with all the work.  The irony here is that Martha was absolutely convinced that she was doing the right thing!  Don't many of us believe the same?  We believe we have to live this way.  Business is success and more is right.  Everyone is doing it, right?  But broad is the road and wide is the path to distruction.  Small is the gate and narrow is the road to life and very few people find it. 

"Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world", says Paul.  "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  Then you'll be able to test and prove what the will of God is.  If minor changes could have made a difference we would have done that a long time ago.  What we are talking about in this message are large, life changing habits.  Production mindsets miss the moments.  "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."  Choose what is right and it will never be taken away from you. 

What happens when we have no margin? 

1)  As margin decreases, your stress increases.  When you're running late, stress increases.  It makes you say bad things on the way in church.  You can't enjoy the worship sometimes and you might have ill will to those you think are to blame.  Financial margin is a big one.  When something breaks, you have no room to fix it. 

2) Your relational intimacy decreases.  Your mind runs, but you are disconnected.  Recently, Craig's family went out to eat and they saw four people together but ALL FOUR people were on their phones twitter and emailing.  "Quit playing with your little twitter!"  Relational intimacy decreases not only with others but with God.  "I used to be close, but I just got BUSY (Too busy for people and too busy for God)." 

Why is it that so many of us live marginless lives? Why do people not downsize?  Most of us do not wholly trust God.  We don't have enough faith to believe that God is really on the throne.  We think that we are working to get something.  Most of us make more money than we ever have, but we are more stressed and more unhappy.  Why?  Because of idolatry! We are eleveating good things to be supreme things.  We gotta have the bigger house, a nicer car, a promotion...  We gotta be at the meeing so they will think more of us. We gotta have our kids involved in the best programs because, God forbid, we spend spiritual time with them when they "could be better flute players."

In the next few weeks, Craig says that he and those listening are going to have a "come to Jesus meeting".  He is going to challenge his listeners and push them.  Sadly, most people will not change, but some of you will begin to live, not according to the patterns of this world, but according to the rhythms of God's grace.  You will not give too much time to things that do not last.  Matthew 11:28-29 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."   Let that sink for your souls...peace...assurance...tranquility.  Rest for your souls... Sometimes people go on vacation and then they have to recover from all the things they did on their vacation!  Some peole think, if nothing is on their schedule, they are insignificant.  This is insane!  Men think they have to make more, conquer more and achieve more.  It's idolatry.  Psalm 46:10 says this; "Be still and know that I am God."

One of Craig's counselors once said, "Take 5 minutes a day and do nothing."  So, this week, your assignment is to do nothing every day for 5 minutes.  Don't do anything. Don't think about anything.  Don't pray.  Just be.  It is the first significant step in creating margin.  The coming series outline for "Margin" is:

Week 1.  Why
Week 2. Scheduling margin. 
Week 3.  Financial margin
Week 4. Moral Margin
We are gong to stop finding meaning in the things of this world and start finding meaning in the things of God. 
Isaiah 58:11 says; "The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame."

 You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your thoughts Glen. I'll possibly be seeing Craig and Andy in Chicago in March for ONE Day Catalyst.


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