When there’s a disparity between what we want to do for others and what we actually can, we’re looking at an issue of margin. We know that there’s need in our church, in our community and in our world. However, if we’re tapped out on our resources – our time, money and talents because we’ve been pushing the needle to the red, it might be time to re-evaluate and re-prioritize.
Dr Richard Swenson, author of “Margin,” defines margin as “the space between our load and our limits. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.”
In Christian terms, margin is the space where God has wiggle room to work in and through us. We’ve discussed what a blessing it is to be invited into the process as agents of God’s Kingdom. We get to carry the message and be the hands and feet of God! But if our hands are already full, and our schedules crammed to capacity, what can we do when we are shown an opportunity? It’s not enough to simply see the need. We are called to be a people of action, a people of change. We are called to be heroes, living distinctly different from those tied up with their own distractions and ambitions.
In my favorite Pink Floyd song, David Gilmore writes:
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won’t understand
“Don’t accept that what’s happening
Is just a case of others’ suffering
Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
The turning away”
It’s a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it’s shroud
Over all we have known…
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It’s not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there’ll be
No more turning away?” “On The Turning Away”
This season, let’s think of ways we can create margin in our lives, space to move when God shows us an opportunity. Let’s free up some of our resources so we can invest in others, and in the eternal.