As part of my getting ready for the New Year a couple weeks ago I decided to clean the top of my desk. That might sound easy, but first I had to find the top of my desk.
You see, over the span of the previous two months, I had started piling “things and stuff” on my desk that I wanted to read someday; things that I needed to think about; things that I planned to use throughout the Advent and Christmas worship seasons. Well, I have to tell you, I found not only useful “things and stuff” that I wanted to keep, I filled a trash can with “things and stuff” that I had no idea why I had kept them in the first place. And the reality was, over those eight weeks that I had been collecting “things and stuff” I worried about what was in that pile on my desk (actually none of it was in any semblance of a pile!) I worried, and wondered, but I didn’t do anything about it.
But two weeks ago I challenged myself to look through everything before I went to bed that night, and I was glad I did. I made a list of 23 things that I had planned to do but hadn’t gotten to yet (important things like write a note to my niece; very important things like take my wife’s car to Cortez to have the tires rotated; and personal things, like jot down a title for a book I want to write someday.) And the added benefit of that day’s effort: the best night’s sleep I had had in months!
As I was looking at my somewhat clean desk (it’s never really totally clean!) it dawned on me that what I had gone through was an example of life. Cleaning up the clutter on my desk, finding peace from making a to-do list and getting a restful night helped me to better see God in my life. And it brought to mind the words of one of my favorite hymns: “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” It’s short, and we often sing it at least two times. It goes like this:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”
(Words and music by Helen H. Lemmel, 1922)
Did you see it? When we look to God and seek his Son, the clutter that piles up in our lives will fade away. We need to turn to Him; we need to work at getting rid of life’s clutter that keeps us from seeing Him. For when we do… when we can see God more clearly in the things around us, then we can rest in His arms and find peace for our lives.
May you find God’s peace that surpasses our understanding, and may it give you great rest always.
Rick Carpenter is the pastor at the United Methodist Church in Dolores and First United Methodist Church in Dove Creek.