André Baard

Need for Margin

“’When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.’”

Leviticus 23:22

Be it the edges of your field or the edge of the road, leaving margin matters.

That little strip between the edge of the road and the yellow line is called roadside margin. Highways have wide roadside margins, small country roads have narrower ones but all well designed roads have one.

This little strip of road may seem unnecessary and a waste of space but it may be the single biggest design feature of a safe road. When an accident should have happened, how often was it not that the driver was able swerve over the yellow line into the safety of the roadside margin? Surely thousands of lives are saved by a roadside’s margin every year in South Africa. The wider the margin, generally the safer the road.

This speaks to an important spiritual principle, lets call it ‘margin on the path of the Lord’. Too many Christian’s lives suffer ‘shipwreck’ or crash and burn while traveling on the Highway of the Lord. There are many dangers on the Christian’s path. There are ministers that drive on the road who cannot keep to their lane and swerve left and right – often blown about by the latest winds of doctrine punted by peddlers of self-help Christian best sellers. Then there are potholes created by the gross moral failures of celebrity Christian leaders which usually cause a car pile up. The greater the celebrity generally the bigger the car pile up.

We need wisdom to run the race. And its not a race against others. Its a race to finish the predestined course God planned long ago for us. Speed kills. Speed is a liar. God by his grace often has to place spiritual speedbumps in our road to slow us down from having an accident … to improve our peripheral vision … to spot foxes waiting in ambush.

But with all those gracious things God does for us on our journey with Him to protect us, there is surely none better than the ‘leaving the edges of your field’ principle. Wisdom cries out to paint the demarcation lines of margin, bright yellow! Mark well the boundary line and for God’s sake leave some room for the roadside margin in your life! It will be the space you need when the traffic gets too hectic, when bad drivers do stupid things … when you do foolish things. Do you have space in your life to pull over? Paint your road yellow! Deal with your calendar. More is often less and less most often more.

Be a wise virgin and keep some extra oil in your lamp because you do not know how long the road is or what may befall you. Give your all to Jesus but keeping some back. Don’t live on the edge, live with margin. You don’t have just one life, you got two! Create space. Be wise and and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and stay on the King’s Highway because many are the evil agents that want to see you crash!

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