Friday, April 24, 2009


The Perfume Filled the Lepers House, by Wayne Forte

We live in a culture that worships balance. When someone is stressed out, how often have I heard (or given) the advice, You just have to find the right balance. High school students are told that colleges want "well-rounded" students -- students who have demonstrated the ability to balance schoolwork, extracurriculars, sports, volunteer work, etc. As adults we all look for that perfect balance of work, family, and recreation.

Depending on who you ask, Jesus was either the most balanced man to walk the earth or the most unbalanced. I'm not sure what to think about that. He did seem to balance his public and private time well, withdrawing from crowds to be alone or with his close friends. But he also condoned acts of unbalanced extravagance: the wedding at Cana and his anointing at Bethany come to mind, not to mention telling his disciples to take up a cross and follow him into death.

I wonder if Jesus cares whether or not we live 'balanced' lives. Is that why he lived, died, and rose? So we can juggle all the balls without dropping them? Is that discipleship?

We know it's not, and yet that is hard to remember in the midst of our balance-loving culture. We know it's not about balance. It's about calling. Maybe there are times when God's calling is not in opposition to a so-called balanced life. But when it is -- when God calls us to do something extravagant, crazy, unbalanced -- which way will we choose? Will we break the jar of perfume? Will we allow our very selves to be broken vessels, poured out in love at the feet of Jesus?

I can juggle fairly well, but I think it might be time to let the balls fall where they will and just listen.