My Hebrew language and Old Testament professor at Erskine Seminary used to have (and probably still does) the messiest desk I could ever imagine. It looked like one of those television shows with the really smart main character’s desk stacked so high with files that a crashing fall is inevitable. I thought he had the messiest desk I could ever imagine until I walked into my office last week and realized my own desk had reached critical mass. I was the television character! And it was all ready to come crumbling down. I had no less than 10 sticky notes with multiple call so and so and don’t forget this or that written all over them (totaling up to approximately 40 to do’s). There were four stacks of books for four different endeavors (sermon prep, Wednesday program prep, some academic endeavors, and some denominational ones, too). There was a Session stack and a get to this but not right now stack and a why is this even here? stack. To say the least, it was beginning to stress me out. So, with pride, let me be the first to tell you (unless Linda already has), I cleaned off my desk late last week!
Since then, whenever I walk into my office, I keep looking at the orderly desk. The things I mentioned above are still there but in their rightful files, shelves (most of the books at least), and places. In this, I praise God for my messy desk turned clean for three reasons:
God has given me enough opportunity at Centennial ARP Church to have a cluttered desk. Things are happening! In fact, enough things are happening that I can’t do it all, so I doubly praise God for the fellow servants around me seeking God’s glory at Centennial. Stop and praise God with me that a servant of God working full time at Centennial can’t do all the things we’re doing here. God is blessing our church with action unto him! “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first” (Revelation 2:19).
God has given me the opportunity to serve him within a structure of ministry and life that fits naturally with his Word. “All things should be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). Paul is speaking primarily of worship when he writes these words, but the principle holds true beyond just formal Sunday morning worship and into the worship we give God in our everyday lives. So, I clean my desk. I get things in order. I send things to those committees we have that are filled with servants of this church. I notify elders who need to care for certain individuals even as I do. There is order rather than chaos, and that is good.
Lastly, God has given me the opportunity to see my own inability to “do it all.” In the last eight months, God has granted great spiritual growth to me, and it has been at the expense of my pride! I won’t speak for y’all, but my good intentions of trying my best and seeking to do what I can sometimes (most of the time) leads down a road where I seek to usurp God’s place of preserving and keeping his people. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). An unruly desk is a simple yet clear example that I don’t (and can’t) have it all together perfectly. Yet God has a perfect plan of preservation for his people who confess in Jesus Christ. We must seek to serve as we can in light of that awesome truth. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Praise God with me for his goodness to us at Centennial and in our lives—even in the midst of many messy desks. Blessings this week.