Some people call them see-saws, where I come from, they are teeter-totters. In essence, they are a way for two children to while away time by balancing up and down while seated at opposite ends of a board with a fulcrum at about two and a half feet high located in the middle of the board. Nothing like simple physics turned into a playground activity for children! My first timepiece was a teeter-totter analog plastic watch designed so that one could see the inner gears and watch the seconds tick away by the up and down movement of the boy and girl seated on the teeter-totter at the bottom of the watch. was five years old when my Dad bought me this special watch so that I could learn how to tell time. Because the year was 1970, I had to remember to wind that watch every day. There were no batteries small enough or safe enough for use in that little watch. I was profoundly fond of that watch and I worked hard to learn how to tell time, even though it could be mesmerizing just to watch the teeter-totter motion and the gears of various sizes move and advance the march of time on my little wrist.

Looking back through the anachronistic nostalgia of the long ago in those recollections I can see that there were a lot of life lessons packed into that little plastic gear-driven gizmo. One can see the lesson that time flies and is therefore valuable, precious, and should be spent wisely. Another lesson was that of cause and effect. Springs and gears had to be wound daily so that by motion a whole series of gears cooperated to produce relatively accurate timekeeping. This taught that a lot of things in life require cooperation and coordination whether it be people on a team or machines performing consistently and effectively. The teeter-totter taught that our use of time should be balanced. Make time for work, time for rest, time for fun, time for relationships, and time for God. In that toy watch, I had before me an example of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which teaches that there is a time for everything under heaven. In winding the watch, I learned that to get something desired one must contribute to the effort. I also learned that a broken watch is right twice a day: a lesson not appreciated when my teeter-totter timepiece eventually broke.

I find it amazing how the wisdom of God can be found wherever we look if we but ponder a bit. Greater wisdom is revealed to us when we pray and study the Bible. Psalm 90:12 (New International Version) says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Like the boy and girl alternating between up and down, the teeter-totter taught that life is about balance and rhythm; sometimes you’re down, sometimes you’re on the level, and other times you’re up. But none of these times last forever. If you are down, hold on because you may be going upward soon. If you are up, prepare yourself; you cannot stay there forever. It is in our attempt to build our life on the position we prefer to cling to and control the outcomes to our liking that we deceive ourselves in ways that make happiness hard to come by and harder to keep. The truth is that we are blinding ourselves to the beauty and happiness that walking in the presence of God weaves into all the rhythms of life. And the reason we cannot be happy in the whole spectrum of life is that we try to ride the seesaw and be its fulcrum at the same time. To find the joy of the Lord, God must be the center, and thereby the fulcrum. We balance in the ups and downs by His love and grace. Jesus spoke most eloquently about this in the sermon on the mount, but most specifically in Matthew 6:25-34. I will share only verse 27 here: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (NIV).

Time passes. Life has ups and downs. Things need to work together in coordination and harmony. A broken life can be fixed by Christ. We reap what we sow, but God remains steadfast and certain. His love for us never fluctuates, and if we balance our life with Him at the center we can walk in wisdom and joy! Be sure to make time for God in all that you do, and you’ll get better things than you can obtain for yourself! God bless you!

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