A Desk, 2 Bookshelves, 3 Trash Bags, and [Joe]

October 15, 2014

Reblogged from:  More Grist for the Mill

Last Friday, when our offices were closed, I took advantage of the time to do something I hadn’t done in too long – find out the color of the top of my desk. Some have commented, charitably, I hope, that the color is pretty much whatever is the latest piece of paper that has piled up there. Alas, you comedians (& comediennes, to be inclusive) need to know you aren’t the first to take note of my ‘filing system.’ However, I’ve always prided myself on knowing where everything is in the midst of the piles. Every so often, though, it gets to be too much even for me, and I go through it all.

What made last Friday different was that I went beyond merely cleaning off the desk and into full-scale office rearrangement mode. Why? I’m not really sure, to tell you the truth. What was really neat about the experience was towards the end of the day, when [Joe] stopped by for a few minutes to get some advice from one of his pastors.

When [Joe] walked in, he said, immediately, “Everything’s backward!” I laughed, we bantered back and forth about it for a little bit, then I said, “How do you know it wasn’t backwards to start and I finally got it right?”

I’ve been thinking about this ever since [Joe] and I had this conversation, for I think it captures the heart of what we mean when we talk about and attempt to model what’s known as ‘conversion,’ or the time in which we acknowledge Christ as Lord and commit to living our lives according to God’s will, not our own self-determination.

What may look ‘normal’ may, in fact, be absolutely backward once we take a look at things from a different perspective.

I don’t know what it’s going to be like to live in this new arrangement quite yet, but I know it will take some getting used to, like all changes (big or small) in life. I also know that it will impact not only me but also those around me, for it’s not only my perspective that changes, but anyone who comes in as well, like [Joe.]

The same is true when we journey deeper and deeper into recognizing and responding to God’s grace as part of our new perspective of living as we pray, “Thy will be done.” When we change our perspective on life, and when we make noticeable differences that will be seen by some as ‘strange’ or ‘backward,’ we should not be surprised or defensive, but take it as an opportunity to share why it is that we changed things around.

After all, one of the most consistent things that I have been asked in my career is, “How do I share my faith? I don’t know what to say.”

[Joe] asked me why I changed things around. My answer was simply this, “It was time for a change. When I took the risk of making this change, I didn’t know if I’d like it or not. But I knew something had to change, and this looked like a pretty good option to me.” I would add now, after having looked at it for a couple of days, that I didn’t realize the unintended outcomes. Two in particular are that I’ve got a good view of what’s outside, since my desk is now by the window and there is more floor space available in case we want to bring in a few additional chairs for a meeting.

Ultimately, following Christ is a step of faith. Neither you, nor I, nor anyone else can say for sure how following Christ is going to change things. What I can say, though, is that while it may seem like ‘Everything’s backward’ for awhile, chances are good that while life in Christ will not always be easy, you will see that, in fact, the old way was backward, and the new way is the way things ought to be, and the way that God intended them.

Jesus didn’t tell the disciples what all they would encounter when he ascended into heaven; he told them the same thing that you and I must take to heart each and every day – “I am with you always ’til the end of the age.”

May it be so now and always.