As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 3:16-4:2 NIV)
Over the past few weeks, we have been examining what it looks like to pursue “whole-life excellence” as opposed to “work-life balance”. In the final devotional in this series, I’d like to argue that in order to be excellent in every role we’re committed to, we must, like Jesus, embrace seasons of imbalance in our lives.
In Matthew 3, we witness the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry as John baptizes him in the Jordan River. Now, with Jesus’s new season of work just beginning, you might reasonably expect him to try to find a rhythm to balancing the various demands of his life. A little preaching here, a little time with family there. A bit of breaking bread with his friends here, some time with the Father there. But no. Right from the start, Jesus is the picture-perfect opposite of work-life balance, choosing to spend forty days alone in the wilderness. Clearly, this radical imbalance was what was necessary to prepare himself for the work ahead.
In our own lives, there will be seasons that demand radical imbalance in order to achieve whole-life excellence. For example, as some of you may know, my wife and I are in the process of adopting a baby. I would not be an excellent father and husband if, immediately after bringing this baby home, I sought to give “equal weight” to my responsibilities at work and at home. During those first few weeks, I need my life to be woefully imbalanced, spending as much time as I can helping my wife, taking care of our five- and three-year-old, and spending time with the new baby.
As we made clear at the beginning of this devotional series, “balance” isn’t necessarily what we’re called to as Christians. Excellence is. And in order to fulfill each of our roles well for the glory of God and the good of those around us, it requires that we give ourselves the grace and permission to embrace seasons of imbalance in our lives.
Nobody can achieve whole-life excellence perfectly. Ever. And praise be to God that He never expects us to achieve perfection. That can only be achieved through Jesus Christ. I pray that the peace that comes from our assurance in Him will free and compel us to pursue whole-life excellence for His glory and the good of others.