I re-arranged my study yesterday. Nothing big–just replaced the folding table I had the laptop on with a small computer desk I found stored away somewhere. That allowed me to move my work desk back a bit and open up some more floor space. I also got out the Old English and cleaned the top of my oak work desk. It really needs refinishing, but I have too many other projects going on right now.
It’s funny how just moving a little furniture can affect your perspective. I mean, there’s the literal change in perspective that happens, but the psychological perspective shifts too. It forces you to see your workspace, study, home, even life in a different way. Like looking through a mirror. Try this to see what I mean: open a familiar photo on your computer, then select it as a mirror image. For some strange reason it looks completely different.
This isn’t the only change this week. I’ve started taking Mondays off and so this morning I’m sitting here in my study at church. A little bit later I’ll head out to see some shut-ins. But I have never worked on Fridays as a Pastor…or a vicar. It will be a little strange to get used to. Tuesday and Wednesday I felt behind the game, so much so that Thursday I made some great strides and got a lot done. Today feels almost like a bonus day. I know this won’t last. Once I get used to the feel of the new work-week, Fridays will be the catch-up day and I’ll go into them just like I used to do Thursdays.
It’s part of life. Everything grows stale in time. We adapt to whatever is before us and soon we stop noticing things. Taken to the extreme, it’s part of the reason why men have affairs and women leave their husbands and we make all sorts of sinful and harmful decisions. It’s what drives auto sales and gadget-addictions and clothes horses. When everything you see and experience is just like it was, when you stop noticing things around you, when all seems the same, we are tempted to go and buy and make things new and fresh and shiny. It gives a thrill–an addictive thrill.
While mixing and matching new outfits and changing your screensavers and re-arranging your bedrooms is a harmless, maybe even healthy way of managing this craving for Everything New, it’s not the cure. The disease is spiritual, and cure must be spiritual.
It is an article of faith that Christ is returning and will “make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). A portion of our longing and distaste with what is around us may be pointing us to this truth, that this empty world is passing away and we are being given a new country, a new life, a new body, a new world, a New Heaven and a New Earth.
But the other side of this is a satanic rejection of the goodness of the creation and dissatisfaction with what God gives. It’s the same sin that caused the Israelites to despise Manna, to make golden baby cows at the same time that God was shrouding the Mountain with black thunder and fire which does not consume. It is the same deadly sin which drove the Pharisees to seek more and more from Jesus, not satisfied with His miracles of miracles, with His Oracles beyond all understanding. “Yes, but…what I really want now is…” they said. And they were not given it.
The cure is repentance. It always is. Fasting helps. It makes us remember that we need less than we think. Giving is good too, taking away the temptation to misuse the money God has granted us. Prayer and turning away from temptation, avoiding the opportunity to sin. Basic stuff. Hard stuff. But the stuff of Life and the Spirit.
Oh, and go ahead and rearrange that furniture. It will make you feel good and honors what you have from the hand of God.