A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
Proverbs 11:1-3
Before we get to today’s reflection, allow me to share something I have found very helpful in spending time in Scripture. It is very important to me that a Scripture verse be part of every Prayer Team message. In case you have never heard of Bible Gateway, I want to bring it to your attention. (www.biblegateway.com) This website allows you to look up any passage of Scripture and see any translation of it. It also allows you to look up a key word and see what the Bible says about that word. In writing this message, I looked up the word “balance” on Bible Gateway, and found that this word appears 20 times in the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible (the translation used almost exclusively on the Prayer Team). I read each one, the context it is in, and then settled on the one quoted above. I’m sharing this because it has been a helpful tool for me to spend time in the Bible. I, of course, read the Bible for study, I read a chapter each morning with our son. I read on my own. And then I look things up multiple times a day for correspondence and Prayer Team purposes. Using Bible Gateway has helped me spend more time in the Bible. Now to today’s message. . .
We’ve all seen two scales, where we try to balance them by putting either the same thing in each one, or at least the same weight of things in each one. Ah, if there were only two scales to balance. . .
Life has many scales, many things to balance—God, marriage, children, rest of family, friends, work, house, shopping, exercise, relaxation, hobbies, rest, and there’s probably a few I’ve left out. I’ve listed 12, so imagine your life is a series of trays all connected to one point, which is held up in the air by someone’s finger. Any imbalance between these 12 (at least) things is going to send the whole contraption crashing down. This is one of the things that is making life so stressful.  
Most of us have things out of balance. For most of us, work dominates our lives. That’s where we spend the most hours, and probably the most good and energetic hours of the day. Children take up the next largest chunk of time, and for many with young children, they take up the most time. The rest of family can take up a lot of time—caring for aging parents, family milestones like a cousin’s birthday, etc. There is necessary work at the house—cooking, shopping, laundry, ironing, yardwork. Most of us have friends we spend time with. What about marriage? This seems to get squeezed out for many couples. This is a challenge, how to get some “us” time in the midst of everyone wanting your individual time. Hobbies, other than TV watching, are also getting squeezed out. So is exercise, most of us don’t get enough of it—I’ve struggle most of my adult life with this. So is rest, most of us don’t get enough sleep—I’ve also struggled with this my whole life. And then there is our relationship with God, which was first on my written list, but Who is often last on our lists, including, sadly, on mine.  
Our kids are struggling for a balance as well—school, friends, sports, family, rest, extra-curricular activities, leisure and rest. We all see how God is getting pushed out of their lives as well.  
Perhaps this biggest thing that is making our scales out of balance is social media. Social media is a time sucker—whether we are using it for good or bad, the fact is that is sucks a lot of time. Most of us waste a lot of time on it. I was recently with a group of teens and their parents, all of whom admitted they waste at least an hour a day on their phones, either on social media or aimlessly clicking. For those of us, pretty much everyone, who are out of balance and don’t have enough time, how does one hour a day of more sleep sound? Or an extra hour with your spouse, kids, watching sports, getting more work done, or hanging out with friends sound? To most of us, that sounds pretty good. And for most of us, there is an extra hour there, the hour (at least) that we are wasting.  
I remember from my youngest age, that my parents used to say “There are 165 hours in a week—those other three go to God.” The same way we budget money, we budget time. In our budget, we give first to the church, then Uncle Sam (taxes), bills, and then whatever is left is our recreation money. There are a finite number of minutes in a day and hours in a week. It is important that we offer the first of these to God. If He truly is the center of our life—it’s source, it’s sustenance, it’s destination—then we should give the first to Him. Most of us have obligations to work. There is family, there is leisure. There is rest—and rest is important, for both physical and mental well-being. And we can easily see what gets squeezed out if we are most efficient, or what should get squeezed out, and that is the social media and screen time.  
All of that being said, the balancing act is hard. I don’t know ANYONE really whose life is in balance. What I do know is that 100 years from now, none of us is going to have a job, a home, chores, travel interests, etc. We will either be in the presence of God, rejoicing eternally in His Kingdom, or we will be away from God, wallowing in eternal sorrow. Therefore, it is vital for our eternal life that we make God a priority in this life. In fact, God’s power has the ability to help us balance the other things, if we have the faith enough to make Him a priority when it comes to our time.
Lord, thank You for the gift of my life. Even when it is chaotic, it always brings the possibility of glorifying You. Help me to have the efficiency to touch all the bases in my life, especially the one that connects me with You. Bless my family, my work, all the things I do and the people I do them with. May I give glory first to You, O Lord, on this day, however busy it may get. Please help me to keep my eyes on what is truly important and necessary in my life. Amen. 
The “balancing act” of life is something we’ll probably never master. Since we will probably never have it all in balance, let’s at least work to keep God in balance as He is our source, our sustenance and our destination.


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here: https://amzn.to/3nVPY5M


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