We just have too much stuff! I’ve spent the last week cleaning out drawers and closets. Well, not just cleaning them out—rather emptying them out. Later this summer the Naranjos will be moving in with us for several months. Laurie and Fernando have seven children. I am so excited to have my kids and grandkids here, and I wouldn’t want them staying anywhere else, but it does takes some serious preparation to make room for nine more people sharing the space that three of us have already pretty much filled up.
Of course, if you’ve ever cleaned out closets, drawers, cabinets, the garage, the basement you know the mess looks a whole lot worse before it starts looking better! We’ve lived in this house now for 21 years. I have cleaned out closets and such from time to time during those two decades, but still—we’ve done a lot of accumulating! I am not a hoarder by any means. Our house usually looks fairly tidy, but still Bob likes to call me a packrat. I had to laugh at him this week, though. My discards were going into three boxes—Trash, Donate and Yard Sale. He kept reaching into those boxes and pulling things out. “You can’t get rid of this!” he’d say. And he calls me the packrat!
The bigger part of my task was not just getting rid of things, but moving most of it from one location to another and then finding someplace to put it. For instance, I had to empty Robbie’s very small closet and drawers since four of my grandchildren will be staying in that room. The only place I could think of to put Robbie’s clothes and supplies was in the large cabinet in the dining room. In order to do that I had to move the dishes that were in that cabinet to the small pantry in my kitchen—which meant I had to take everything out of the pantry and move it to a cabinet I had in the basement. I had to empty that cabinet into my Trash, Donate and Yard Sale boxes or a tote for storage. Arrgh!
There is one benefit from all this sorting and pitching and moving things around—gradually I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I am enjoying having everything neat and organized again! I do like to organize! I can’t resist peeking into a cupboard or closet and seeing everything pretty and arranged just so!
Have you ever considered that God is a God of organization? When we study His creation, we can see that His original creation was done systematically and in order. The first chapter of Genesis tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day… (Genesis 1:1-31) The Lord was very specific when He gave Noah His instructions for building and loading the ark. (Genesis 6-8) He gave Moses His very specific directions, down to the smallest detail, for making the tabernacle and everything that should go in it, right down to the garments the priests would wear and the offerings He desired of them. (Exodus 25-31)
The Lord commends others in the Bible for their organization. Look at the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” She is a wonderful—although difficult—example to follow. The only thing that gives me hope that I can follow in her footsteps is that I believe she accomplishes all these things over the seasons of her life and not all at once, and yet we know even then, she must have had a great head for keeping things organized.
God instructs us to be organized. Jesus gave an example in Luke 14 28-30. He was actually talking about counting the cost of following Him, but He said, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.” He tells pastors to “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28) and He goes on to tell us when it comes to our worship together, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace… all things should be done decently and in order.” (I Corinthians 14:33, 40)
What hinders us from being organized? A lack of discipline, procrastination, laziness… One of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25) Whether it comes to being organized in our homes or in our lives, we ought to exercise the strength of mind, and will, and character to do what we know we ought to do. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”(James 4:17)
Time to get rid of the stuff and nonsense—or at least make sense of it all! All it takes is a little discipline, a little determination, a little diligence…and some motivation—like the grandkids coming to visit!