Proverbs 11:1–5, 11–14, 17–30
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
but an accurate weight is his delight.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace;
but wisdom is with the humble.
The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
The righteousness of the blameless keeps their ways straight,
but the wicked fall by their own wickedness.
By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
Whoever belittles another lacks sense,
but an intelligent person remains silent.
A gossip goes about telling secrets,
but one who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a confidence.
Where there is no guidance, a nation falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Those who are kind reward themselves,
but the cruel do themselves harm.
The wicked earn no real gain,
but those who sow righteousness get a true reward.
Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
but whoever pursues evil will die.
Crooked minds are an abomination to the Lord,
but those of blameless ways are his delight.
Be assured, the wicked will not go unpunished,
but those who are righteous will escape.
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman without good sense.
The desire of the righteous ends only in good;
the expectation of the wicked in wrath.
Some give freely, yet grow all the richer;
others withhold what is due, and only suffer want.
A generous person will be enriched,
and one who gives water will get water.
The people curse those who hold back grain,
but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.
Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor,
but evil comes to the one who searches for it.
Those who trust in their riches will wither,
but the righteous will flourish like green leaves.
Those who trouble their households will inherit wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
but violence takes lives away.
The text from Proverbs speaks very literally about God not appreciating scales that do not balance. The writer then gives examples of the difference between “balanced” and “unbalanced” living.
Finding balance in my life has been one of my spiritual challenges for years. It’s not just about balancing work, family and community obligations but also about balancing demands of time, energy and desire.
It’s impossible to live a perfectly balanced life but can we become more attuned to what is enough to sustain us in this life?
Where do you spend your energy? Is it congruent with your passions, values and hopes for your life?
If not, how do you/we reclaim a life of balance?
Can a faith community be out of balance? More energy/resources spent in one area to the exclusion of other needs? f so, how do we reclaim balance within the community?
An invitation from a 13th century Sufi poet:
Come, come whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a hundred times.
Come, yet again, come, come.
Rev. Dr. Paula Northwood
Minister for Education