In his book The Self-Aware Leader, author Terry Linhart speaks of the paper used for standard letter writing and school essays. It is 8.5 x 11 inches, or 93.5 square inches. Most teachers require one-inch margins for class papers. That's the standard we've become accustomed to seeing. But have you ever stopped to consider what percentage of the page that margin occupies? Most people will answer anywhere from 15 to 25 percent.
But a one-inch margin on a standard sized paper is 37.4 percent of a page's area. More than one-third of the page is given to space. And that's just around the edges. When you double-space the lines of text, a majority of the paper is blank.
The empty border helps us focus on the printed text. It creates a comfortable feel for our eyes. Stylish magazines help readers focus on the text and images by using large amounts of margin on each page. Sometimes we use even more margin in catalogs and on blogs.
Sometimes people think that margin (sometimes called "white space") is wasteful and inefficient. They pack as much print as possible on the page. But have you ever seen a page packed with text from top to bottom and side to side? You'll get tired looking at it, even before you begin reading it.
In the same way, we need margins and space in our lives; blank spaces in our busy days, Sabbath time, times of prayer. This provides opportunity to deepen our relationship with others and God. What are the margins in your life – 1 maybe 2 percent? Please consider increasing it, especially in regard to prayer and intentional reflection. Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
One specific request: In your margin time, would you lift in prayer Pastor Andrew Brunson (and his family), an Evangelical Presbyterian Church pastor being held unjustly by the Turkish government?
Keep the faith,
Originally from Huntington Beach, CA, Tony received his Bachelor's degree in religion from USC and his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Talbot School of Theology. Tony loves spending time with his wife, Sheri, and their two sons and daughter (Bryce, Braden, and Brooke); cheering for the USC Trojan football team; and playing tennis.