Will you create margin or just experience the marginal?
This morning, Laura and I worshipped at a church plant in the Toledo area called Soma City Church. We were blessed by a great sermon by their pastor, whose central message was that followers of Jesus are called to engage relationally with those who might otherwise make us uncomfortable. We do this by 1) saying no and creating margin in our life 2) saying yes to God’s call to reach out to others and 3) saying less by taking a posture of listening.
I was struck by how important margin is to following Jesus in the everyday of life and how most Christians really struggle to say no. There are so many “good” opportunities we are offered that we feel we should say yes to. However, when God comes calling, we look at our schedule and wonder how we can fit it in.
I had a friend in college who told me that “not every good opportunity is a God opportunity.” It sounds cliche, but don’t miss the power of this statement. What if, before you committed to something, you went to God in prayer, asking “God, is this an opportunity you are sending my way or is this just another good thing?”
My intent is not to over-spiritualize every decision you and I make. There are many good opportunities life offers us and it brings God pleasure to see us enjoying life. However, we need to have a framework for decision-making that ensures that we have margin in our life for when a “God opportunity” comes our way. The alternative is a marginal life, a life spent scurrying from one supposed commitment to the next with no real sense that any of it truly matters.
What if God is calling you to take inventory of your calendar and to identify something (or somethings) to say no to so that you might be freed from the tyranny of the urgent? What if the pursuit of margin leads you away from the good so that you might experience the great?
You might have no idea how to do this, but if you give it a try, my hunch is that God will surprise you with just how much fun it is to say no to the good so that you might experience the great as you seek to follow Jesus in the everyday.
What is God calling you to start saying no to? Where are there opportunities for margin in your life?