Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blessings in the Messes

Sometimes life is a mess!  As I sit in my own office you can barely see the top of my desk as just about every available flat surface is cluttered with some books or papers of some sort!  Sermons to preach, classes to teach, meetings to prepare for, schedules to keep - my office sometimes resembles the aftereffects of an F3 tornado!

Maybe your life looks a lot like my office.  You just can't keep up with all the demands, you can’t tidy up all the clutter, you can't organize all the tasks.  Stacks of papers to be filed, toys to trip over, dishes waiting to be washed, laundry overflowing the hamper, to-do lists that seem endless.  Sometimes life can just get jumbled and untidy!  Sometimes life is a mess!

Now I certainly don’t want to discourage tidiness and I'm not one to dispute the old adage,   "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" (I'm thankful that one's not in the good Book), but maybe we can look at our messy lives through a different lens and instead of being filled with panic, we can be filled with praise!

I need all the wisdom I can get, so one of my favorite books of the Bible is Proverbs.  While reading through it the other day I came across a maxim that spoke to my messy life.  It was in  Proverbs 14:4, "Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean."    It puzzled me at first, but after some thinking I figured that maybe having a messy life is not as bad as I thought.

I don’t have a manger, I have never raised an animal, but it's common sense that if you do raise animals and rely on them to get work done, then you're bound to have a mess or two to clean up.  A clean manger  may be nice, but without the messy ox you’re not going to get much work done!  No messes mean no work.  No messes means no crops.  Maybe the sage is telling us that when you step in that mess instead of resorting to cussing you can be thankful that you have that ox who made that mess!

The mess means you have an ox!  The loads of laundry mean you have clothes!  The dirty dishes mean you have food!  The toys mean you have fun! The clutter means that life is happening all around you!  The messes around us, more often than not, are the aftereffect of God's blessings in our lives.

Perhaps a resolution we can make as we enter into another certain-to-be messy year is to find the blessings in the messes around us because sometimes life can be a mess!  And thank God for that!