Friday, November 11, 2011

The Devil and My Desk

It's interesting how the most trivial things can sometimes get you thinking. 

Earlier this week, I straightened out my desk at work.  OK, this accomplishment doesn't rank up there with microwave popcorn, but for me this has been a life-altering least for the past few days.

Admittedly, I've always meant to tidy up and keep it tidy.  In fact, it's probably listed several times in my "easier said than done" list of things to do.  But I finally did.

I sort of had to for a few reasons.  One, like an office version of Jenga, Sunday morning I pulled a book out of its pile and everything came crashing down, sort of like a librarian had vomited all over my desk.  And two, when your desk becomes a sermon illustration for the Senior Pastor, you know it's time to do something.

As I reflect on the experience, I can't help but wonder how if cleanliness is next to godliness, my mess was downright Satanic!  But even still, I want to justify it with Proverbs 14:4:
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,               but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
I.e., nothing profitable comes from being tidy.

But I think in our heart of hearts we all know that's not true. Amazingly, I've felt more productive all week, what with knowing where things are and all.  And to some extent it's sorta become a perverse little game, remembering to put my pens back in the coffee cup that now stores them and putting books back on the shelf as soon as I'm through with them.  If my inner voice didn't sound so much like Tooter the Turtle, I would swear it was my mother haunting me from the grave.

So in conclusion, I would highly recommend cleaning your desk.

Now, if I could only find my stapler.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Little By Little

"Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land." Exodus 23:30

I've been reading through Exodus lately, spending time each morning reading two or three chapters.  Usually, nothing "new" pops up; a burning bush here, a parting Red Sea there.  Been there, done that, right?

But this morning the little nugget above really stood out to me.

"Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land."

Little by little.

Was God unable to give them the whole land, all at once?  As the Israelites left Egypt in one mass exodus (hence the name of the book), couldn't the Hittites, Canaanites, and all the other "ites" be tossed out all at once??

No.  God says He will drive them out "little by little."

Then it dawns on me that this is how He sanctifies us.  Little by little.

I'm not sure how to directly connect the analogy, but God explains His "little by little" plan in verse 29.  If He were to drive out the inhabitants quickly the land would be desolate and filled with wild animals.

Uh oh.  If God were to act quickly, things would be even worse.  Therefore perhaps we can assume that if God were to change us quickly, our circumstances might be worse than if we learned to wait.

If I were instantly pure, I wouldn't want to be around some of my friends and family.

If I were instantly pure, I might miss tomorrow's sunrise or sunset because my eyes would be closed in prayer.

If I were instantly pure, I might lose any grace that might grow in me as I related to other "sinners."

If I were instantly pure, I might forget about my need for Jesus.

And suddenly "little by little" seems like a pretty good deal.