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Eric's Sunday Sermon; A Balance of Life

Updated on May 24, 2015

And there I am getting my bliss on and someone has graffitied the rocks

Well I like my natural beauty as much as the next guy and defacing nature is troublesome. But I had to like the message here.
Well I like my natural beauty as much as the next guy and defacing nature is troublesome. But I had to like the message here. | Source

A blessing in disguise

Good day to you. We hope this sermon finds you rested or resting and at peace and at war. How strange it may seem to you that we greet with hopes of finding you at war. And how out of the ordinary that we wish you rest, peace and war all in the same line. Perhaps by some reflection we can come to discover that these concepts are not mutually exclusive and actually have some sense in them together.

When we are at war one of the things that we need and covet the most is peace and another one is rest. For obvious reasons it is very hard to find both peace and rest in war. A well trained combat soldier teaches himself to get rest whenever there is a chance at it. One never knows when the next chance may come. Certainly the warrior while intense and excited in battle hopes and prays for peace and to live another day. Perhaps we are wise to consider that when we are at one extreme or another we hope for the opposite. It is a hard notion to grasp but at times the warrior becomes eager to go into battle. The combatant in all of us sometimes grows tired of stale negotiations and wilted stilted speech and just wants to get the conflict over with win or lose.

How about you?

Can you imagine a time when it is right for you to go to war?

See results

War! What is it good for?

There is a concept that flows through our human condition. That concept is conflict. Try as hard as we are able and we just cannot get rid of conflict. In so many ways we do not try to rid ourselves of it at all. Did you know that there are several all day and all night sports channels? One can literally spend all day and night watching, analyzing and participating in competition. There is the latest news about it. There are the latest statistics of winning and losing and all matters in between. There are even odds and favorites discussed and published regularly. This all comes with talking heads and amazing video segments showing the most outstanding of athletic achievement. It most assuredly could be addicting and by any stretch of the imagination it is entertaining. And did we mention it involves billions and billions of dollars?

Sports are based on competition and competition is conflict and conflict is really just war on a smaller scale. Back in the day some liked to call a massive war in a foreign land a conflict. Over 50,000 American sons and daughters lost their lives in a “conflict”. Here we try to use words for literary effect rather than political talking points. Yet there is still conflict over how to use those words just right.

So how much more so in matters of life and death and right and wrong and good and evil are we to be at war? It is so nice and comfy to avoid all matters of conflict. It is so easy and feels so right to stay within our safety zone. We are so busy and stressed out over life and all the challenges that we feel we deserve to “relax”. Let someone else fight that war. I just don’t want to deal with the negativity and I don’t have the energy to fight.

The thought of War blows my mind!

Which direction should we take?

There is missing from this sign the arrow pointing back to the way from which we came.
There is missing from this sign the arrow pointing back to the way from which we came. | Source

We take time to relax.

For many of us we take a Sabbath or a day of rest every week. Sometimes we do activities that we really enjoy and invigorate ourselves. Sometimes we find ourselves trying to do nothing at all, and we succeed. Most find some place in between activity and sleep and rejuvenate in that way. We push aside the cares of the world. We concentrate on the healthy and enjoyable aspects of family and friends. Many take time to reflect and enjoy nature and still others join with likeminded worshippers and attend a gathering of prayer, song and learning. There are many that take to labors of love like caring for their home and growing the plants that are so vital to health and happiness. It is a marvelous time to connect with our animals and enjoy them. In most lives there is time set aside for feasting and appreciating our nourishment as we have not the time during the busy week. Of course there is time for snuggling and affection that is too often missed while we run the rat race of the day in and day out.

Certainly in these things there is goodness. Taking time for appreciation and things we truly enjoy is essential to our well-being and fruitfulness.

A simple waterfall.

It is good to take the time to appreciate all that is. But it is important to also take time to effect all that is for the better.
It is good to take the time to appreciate all that is. But it is important to also take time to effect all that is for the better. | Source

Is something missing?

Now about that conflict and it’s necessity in life. Why would we ever wish someone to be at war? Well it is a real world out there. There is real bad stuff going on. It would be easy just to refer to a nightly “news” program to prove this point. But that would lead us into the direction of the spectacular and sensational. The bad stuff we speak of here is quiet and seemingly non-invasive. It is the small that combined with a lot of small stuff creates huge problems. It is the conflict in the choices that we as humans make. There is one place where there is always a battle going on. Within each of us there is the constant struggle between doing and not doing.

In deep reflection it hit me that I constantly throw ideas of action into my intellectual and spiritual hopper. An idea of doing something comes into my mind and I am forced into giving thought regarding doing it or not. Now over the years for many reasons and for many unknown reasons most of my thoughts about action are positive. I see a problem and my first conscious thought is to help correct it. It would seem apparent that many do not have that kind of first conscious thought. For whatever reasons, known and unknown, their first conscious thought is to exploit a problem. Their base need for survival overrides thoughts of morality and right and wrong.

Back to that intellectual hopper. I throw stuff in there and more often than not it gets consumed. I “think” about it and mull it over and analyze the “best way” and I balance out the pros and cons and I and I and I – and what comes out the other end is – inaction. I make a conscious choice not to do battle in the world. Believe me I have my reasons. And I am just smart enough to justify inaction both spiritually and morally.

Now take that fellow who is wired differently. The exploiter. The person that sees opportunity in another’s problems and moves quickly to profit from it. We see it all the time. We too often sit back and rationalize inaction while the purveyors of evil take action and begin the war without us. Perhaps we are too busy or perhaps it occurs on our “Sabbath”. Oh we might be at war in our own heads. Battling over action versus inaction. But this is not the war we speak of today. The battlefield of life is all around us. We are more than happy to jump in when it is our job and how we make a living, battling the vagaries of office life or competing against our neighbor to “get ahead”. But are we ready to be soldiers for others and to fight skirmishes for right and wrong?

A little levity about fighting. The video is most interesting.

Please don't pick me!

When writing such a piece it all boils down to a call to action. I do not want to do it as it frightens me. I do not want to do it as I then must take responsibility for it. I do not want to do it because in order to do it I must sit down and really decide what is right and wrong and stand by it. It takes energy. It takes time. And perhaps in calling others to action one must commit to action oneself. Therein lies one of the most difficult issues. If I demand a certain conduct of my brothers and sisters then I must not only live accordingly I must lead by example. But in that simple reality lies the really good news.

We do not need to confront or commit violence to march into the war. This is a much more holistic and virtuous war. This is a war where direct head to head battle seldom determines the winner of the day. This is a war of balance. With one atrocity there must be an equal amount of love. It need not at all be pointed in the specific direction of the atrocity or evil. It is as simple as ABC.

I see the man throw garbage down on the ground in the park. I not only stow my garbage I pick up ten or twenty pieces more. I see the man verbally abuse the elderly. I volunteer at a nursing home. I am yelled at and treated poorly. I speak gently and treat five more with dignity and respect. I find myself overindulging and the next day I bring food to the food bank. I make mistakes and I seize the next opportunity to make right.

Am I suggesting keeping a scorecard. No, but why not? We watch sporting events and keep score. We watch a military war and keep track of territory seized and gained. Why not hold ourselves accountable? And so it is that I wish you war. I wish for you to see the wrong all about. And I call you to action. Battle on by doing good.

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    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 23 months ago from United States

      I like the way you compared us with that eternal war we all wage each day, not only with the stress of life, but ourselves. Nice work and great message my friend. whonu

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much whonunuwho. It is good of you to visit and read during this Memorial Day weekend. It is a good day to be at peace with oneself.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 23 months ago from southern USA

      Dear Eric,

      Thank you for sharing your deep reflection of those internal battles that rage on within us and our daily choices. We are all warriors no doubt. I had a little bit of a battle just this day or previous day to either participate in a minor issue but for some reason it became a big deal for me to just not go there, and I am glad I made that choice. It is of little significance in the grand scheme of things on this earth, but maybe that is how it is supposed to work ...in the little choices we make each day.

      God bless you

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      Peace and much love to you and yours

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Faith it has taken a lifetime for me to recognize that many times I need to just remain still. You have shared your experience in making such a decision. Thank you. Those little choices sure seem big to us. I think it shows that we care.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 23 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I have doubts about your balance concept. I wonder if in the practice there is danger of spiritual pride. Also, how does one compare on the scale love and hate, justice and injustice, making better and making worse? St. Peter wrote, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." And what did he mean? He gave the instance, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." One can only do one's best to do what seems to best manifest love in an instance. Perhaps that means picking up another's litter. Perhaps it means offering hospitality without grumbling.

      How does one balance thousands unjustly imprisoned for decades? How does one balance lynchings, extrajudicial killings, innocent victims of war? How does one balance multitudes of abused children? For one person to attempt to balance awful with wonderful in one lifetime leads to madness or despair.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Brian, it is good of you to stop by and leave such a thought provoking comment. I cannot speak for all but I am always in danger of spiritual pride. I have to keep a close eye on it.

      Hospitality is a keystone to acting in accordance with good. It is hard to be doing wrong while one is concentrating on the needs of another. It would seem to me that if one does not experience that madness and despair from time to time then we need to check their pulse. Truly the imbalance of equities is enough to drive one mad. Certainly the evils meted out in this world are overwhelmingly sad. I know that for me I could not bear those realities on my own. But thankfully I do not have to.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Beautiful analogy, my friend. Go to war by doing good. I love that. And it begins with me.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Bill and a good Memorial day to you. You just did good by coming by and brightening my day with your comment. Thank you

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 23 months ago from The World (for now)

      After reading this I thought of Jesus' words 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' Not everyone acts in this way and once you try to act as He has advised there will be conflict from those who choose to disregard His advice. The key is to keep on fighting for truth so that truth will prevail. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      North Wind, for some reason in reading your comment I was struck with gratefulness. A gratefulness that we are able to think and communicate and strengthen our understanding through each other. Absolutely finding and fighting for truth is a very good thing. Thank you

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 23 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very beautiful and interesting hub about "balance of lIfe". Your sermons always teach something new. Thanks for sharing it. Voted up and beautiful.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Venkatachari for leaving such a pleasant and uplifting comment. It is nice to be the recipient of good.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 23 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, I like your surprising introduction. Your explanation led us safely through. You showed us the truth in the Scripture verse which says "Time for peace and time for war." Good sermon.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Dora, happies to you on this Spring day. How true you speak, and it will take to lives to really know which time is which. I am working on it though.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 23 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Beautiful sermon Eric. Sometimes it's easy to see what is wrong with everyone else but not ourselves. If we are expect everyone else to be accountable for their actions; leading by example is a good start.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana your comment is much appreciated. I began my day feeling groggy and lackluster. A good day after a long weekend to blow things off and/or put things off. But then it hit me "if not me then who?". So now it is time to get things done. It is a good start. Thank you.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 23 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      This is an interesting concept, one that my husband and I have grappled with on occasion. I am very much a doer, what you would call a "Type A" personality. Like you, I see something that needs to be fixed and I want to fix it. For this very reason, I often change volunteer positions, helping the organization to streamline their processes. Once it is done, I move on. My husband says that if there is no stress, then I create it!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Denise for your comment. It is a truth about volunteer organizations that they are often disorganized and need a volunteer to tidy up the ship. I think keeping our challenges fresh is a great way to stay involved.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 23 months ago from sunny Florida

      You are so right....deciding to take action asks something of us. We must decide to step into the foray and as you say that takes energy, effort, and precious moments that we often choose to use for some other purpose, of weak humans we may be.

      However sometimes we MUST get on the bandwagon or begin our own journey into righting a wrong that exists. I have just read breakfastpops hub about how our children's lives are being affected so greatly by our schools and how things are progressing today. I am not anti school at all..I taught for 40 years ....but things changed greatly over the years (and some of the changes were good) but many are not.

      So one 'war' I continue to fight is against the craziness in our schools today. and just in case anyone does not realize it, the teachers are NOT the ones who make these decisions to proceed in some direction that they know is not the right one.

      So Eric, we must choose a war that we feel convicted about and try to make a difference.

      Great hub.

      Voted up++++

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Patricia, I look forward to Tuesday as I will spend the day in the classroom of my son. They call it volunteering, I call it duty. The war in our schools must be led and won with boots on the ground. We must commit our troops (us parents) to at least a twelve year campaign, although with my elder children I note it lasted through college. I have not the inkling to change our entire school system, but I will go to battle and change it for my child.

      Thank you for bringing up this great area of example. And thank you for your years of service in one of the most contentious battlegrounds of our time.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Thank you for this hub. I'm one of those who usually goes "where Angels fear to tread" and then think "Oh well, may as well fix the issue while I'm here"

      Your hub reminded me that there are some things ww need to strive for, even when it's hard.

      Thank you for reminding me to take time to strive for the important stuff like family and those who can't stand up for themselves

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence they say that for a good story you need a good listener. In my humble opinion your comment reflects a great heart in you. Thank you for adding so much.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 22 months ago from SW England

      Bravo, Eric, and amen to that. You've put forward a clear, convincing argument to wage war by counteracting with good. I see often that a good deed is passed on, that a smile is returned three-fold... the butterfly effect.

      We all need to heed this philosophy and I will do my best to act upon it more and more.

      I've been relaxing by gardening (is that a contradiction?!) and sharing this wonderful sunshine with passersby (we live by a canal path). A very happy Sunday to you and yours.

      Up +++ and shared.

      Ann

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Ann, I was gone for a hike in the Grand Canyon and missed a few days here so apologies for my late response. In my mind gardening is one of the greatest relaxation tools around. And lending such a heartfelt message of caring is a good deed in itself. Thank you

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 22 months ago from India

      Compassion in heart, kind sight, and a will to face any evil with courage brings forth a balance of life. Eric, it is unfortunate that wars are outcome of greed of some vested interests. So many precious lives are lost in wars. There is a constant battle between evil and good, as you aptly says , in our minds as well as in the physical world. We cannot change the whole world, at least we can change ourselves to savor good. A great Sunday sermon ! Thank you.

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