Thursday, 11 August 2011

Living With A Margin

The Art of Margining...
Have you noticed that nearly all books have margins? Why is it that publishers don't print books with the text right up to the edge of the page? It's because margins enhance text. Have a look at really effective billboards. They are as much about margins of space as they are about the message. In fact, the margin forms an integral part of the message. The margins of your life are not wasted space. They help to define you.

Accountants advise their clients to build margins into their business. Financial advisors help people to see the need to live with a margin through savings and wise investments. Physical trainers develop their athletes with a margin of physical conditioning. Margins are healthy.
Margins are times of quiet. Margins are free spaces. Margins are reserves. Margins are moments of retreat. Margins are times of rest.

The more important something is, the greater the margin required. Every publisher employs this principle in their books. Highly important books have wider margins. Each new chapter in a book commences with a much larger top margin. Every title page of a book has the largest margins.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God...
The world calls its foot-soldiers to "live on the edge". We are constantly being bombarded with noise, materialistic idolatry, rubbish that is marketed as "news" on tap 24 hours a day, portable distraction units that ironically get marketed with the prefix "i".
John 6:15 ¶ Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Living with a margin means saying "no". Margin living people do a few things. On the edge people fill their page. Thinking about how Jesus chose to live out His incarnation, we see that He often withdrew (Matt. 4:12; 12:15; 14:13; 15:21; Luke 9:10; 22:41). Fancy that! The One who would capture the attention of the world did not make the attention of the world His aim. We also remember Jesus resting, sleeping even, when those around Him were distressed. We see Jesus living with a great margin. Of course, it is the margin of Christ's life that makes His life message all the more sublime and singularly outstanding.

For some people, their life is just a margin with no text. But this kind of margin is no margin at all. It is a blank page. For some people, God has blessed them with a large page. It may appear that there is a lot of text on the page of their life, but the grandness of their life's text is enhanced by an appropriately elegant margin that many other large pagers consider to be a waste.
Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Being a part of a God-worshiping, God-adoring, God-honouring, Word-enriched, faith-community is a part of building a margin into our lives. Attending congregational worship on Sundays is building a margin around our lives. It might look like a waste of time to the world. It may even seem like an unimportant priority when compared to kids' soccer games, AFL matches, car races, which coincide with it. But it is a necessary margin for the believer. No wonder the god of this world wants to keep the people of God from weekly re-establishing this vital margin.
Col. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Families need margins. The evening dinner table is a wonderful margin-builder for families. Marriages need margins. Sometimes another person trespasses into a marriage margin which is an indication that someone in the marriage didn't understand that marriage margins are not just about space but are also about boundaries. Margins help to heal marriages because breaches of trust and the pain that comes from being reminded of them are put on the other side of the margin where the hurt spouse refuses to allow the memory of the hurt past the margin. Business people need margins to know when work and business stops. We all need margins to build reserves of strength, resources, wisdom, and fellowship.
Father, help us to build healthy margins around and in our lives. Help us to build practical margins of fitness, finances, and faith. Help us to build spiritual margins of prayer, study, fellowship. Help us to build marriage margins where we set space for each other and boundaries to protect each other. Help us as a church to build margins of praise, silence, reflection, and prayerfulness. May these margins make our lives clearer; our souls stronger; our marriages more fulfilling; and our church more relevant. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

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