Clean My Desk
How can I love God? I can’t even keep my desk clean.
My wife is always on me to clean my desk and office—all to no avail.
She will refresh things when I am not around to motivate me, hoping
I’ll see the value of a clean desk. She even buys things that will
organize the office. If the truth were known, she might be enabling my
poor behavior. I don’t know why I am so disorganized. I like a clean
desk; it certainly makes getting tasks done easier. I don’t seem to
get around to cleaning it. To justify my mess and lack of discipline,
I’ve turned to sayings that diminish my poor behavior, like, “It’s
better to have a messy desk than a messy mind.” Or, as Albert Einstein
put it; “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what
then is an empty desk a sign?” Einstein’s towering intellect has made
him a household name, but have you ever seen his desk? That’s it at
the beginning of the paper. It was photographed just after he died.
What is it about my character that allows me to neglect my desk?
Whatever it is, it carries over to my inability to be loyal to God. I
don’t think I will ever succeed in keeping my desk clean. I am just
fortunate to have a wife who covers my failings. In a way, Jesus does
the same thing (because I lack loyalty to God). I probably need to
Like my wife, who steps in and transforms my office, Jesus steps in
and offers to clean up my mess. By mess, I am not referring to
addictions, murder, and the like, but that can be included. Most
people are messed up in traditional ways. That’s true of both
religious and non-religious people. By messed up, I mean people
dismiss the essential things and replace them with less significant
pursuits. For example, God’s way of doing things is often replaced
with doing it my way. God made His standard clear to Israel when he
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your
soul and all your strength.”
Just as God has His standards, I have standards, too; I want the
dishes I use to be clean. That does not mean I put my dirty dishes on
the floor and have the dog lick them clean. Although they may appear
clean, they are not by my standards. God also has standards. Notice
that God’s requirements begin on the inside. Focusing on a person’s
“heart” and “soul.” Whatever captivates a person’s heart and soul is
expressed in their behavior. Most people approach religion backward.
They focus on behavior by doing something that they think is
religious. They often skip the heart and soul part. That’s a mistake.
Actions will always reflect what’s going on inside. Oh, I don’t mean
to imply you can’t fake it for a while, but given enough time, people
will revert to who they are on the inside. When you love something, it
consumes everything about you, including your time, finances,
relationships, and energy. That’s the standard God established in
being loyal to him. Jesus endorsed God’s instruction to Israel.
“One day, an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking
him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal
life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read
it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your
heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And,
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Right! Jesus told him. Do this, and
you will live!’” (Luke 10: 25- 28)
I don’t know about you, but I come up short no matter how I try. I
don’t love God with all my heart and soul. I can’t imagine someone
who is 100% committed to God. By that, I mean their loyalty to God is
expressed by their actions and is evident to those around them. I am
not implying that people don’t say they love God or try to. Yet, in
the end, they fail, and their life reveals what’s important to them.
In contrast, God always starts on the inside with the heart or soul.
Everybody knows words and actions are different. A person may aspire
to that kind of life, but if they admit it, they fail.
Trying to be committed to God’s standard leaves me feeling hopeless.
Who could love God with all their heart, mind, and strength? It’s an
impossible standard. Fortunately, I met someone who took the time to
explain what God did for people like me. They encouraged me first by
saying I was right about God’s standard. “ God expects a person’s
loyalty.” Loyalty to God means a person is committed to God’s program
and concerns. They went on to show that Jesus was the only one who
lived up to that lofty bar. Note some of the Biblical statements about
him.“I have come to do the Father’s will.” “He was obedient even to
death.” These are only two of many statements which affirm his
allegiance to God the Father. I immediately thought, “Good for him,
but what good is that to me?”
Without missing a beat, they explained that Jesus’ allegiance to God
could somehow be transferred to anyone who would become His follower.
The apostle Paul put it this way, “He [God] has made him be sin that
we may be the rightness of God in him.”
You could look at it this way; during the Covid Pandemic, a person
fell behind on their house payments, and the bank was preparing to
foreclose on their house. In the nick of time, someone went to the
bank and paid off the house in full. As far as the bank is concerned,
the delinquent payment is cleared up, and the people owe nothing. The
home is now free and clear, not because of something the owners did
but because someone stepped in to solve their housing problem. An
anonymous friend paid it off.
That’s what Jesus did. He paid the price for a person’s lack of
allegiance to God. He lived in total obedience to God the Father. He
fulfilled God’s requirement that, “You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart, with all your soul and all your strength.”
He did what I could not. Jesus lived a life with total allegiance to
the Father. Because of him, the standard that God required was met. Of
course, a person must receive this payment just as the person behind
their mortgage must accept payment. A person shows acceptance by
living in compliance with God’s direction as best as possible; even
though a person falls short of absolute obedience, God focuses on
their heart, not their skill. God told the prophet Samuel, “Man looks
on the outward appearance; God looks on the heart.” Jesus put it this
way, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who
love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I
will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” (John 14:21)
That reminds me, I must show my wife how much I appreciate a clean
desk.— I’ll get her some Stargazers—her favorite flowers.