Sunday, December 18, 2011

Year-end Stock-taking

With twenty-eight relocations under my belt, it seems that I’ve spent much of my life filing. Every move requires reorganizing. Yet with my mind set, even the changes of seasons seem to motivate me to change my environment, or reassess what I’m doing. I look at what I have and ask if this or that is necessary or do I give it away?

At times I’ve fallen into ‘change for change’s sake’ or a useless busy work like moving furniture rather than doing something more important. However, most of the changes have been profitable in some way. Sometimes rearranging equals greater convenience. Sometimes decluttering clears my head along with my house.

This morning I’m challenged again to do some assessment. While this comes easily at the end of the year (or the beginning of a new month, or week, or even every morning), this time it is from God’s Word.

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds. (Proverbs 27:23)
Spurgeon has some good things to say about this verse. He points out that a wise merchant occasionally takes stock. He opens his accounts, examines what is on hand, and determines whether his trade is prosperous or declining. This practice is easily transferred to those who belong to Jesus Christ. Those who are wise will often take stock to make sure that our hearts are right with God. We ask Him to reveal sin and life-patterns that need attention.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23–24)
Those who are alert know that every believer struggles against an enemy who introduces false ideas into our heads. He also tries to stir up strife between the people of God, or sow doubt of the love of God into our hearts. He is diligent in trying to keep us from being joyful and fruitful in our Christian lives.

Besides checking for garbage from Satan, stock-taking can also clear out the excess and recorder all that should be in place. While this is seldom an enjoyable task, it is not intended to uproot our security in Christ, but any fleshy security in ourselves. We do it, not to disturb our peace with God, but to clear out any false peace of complacency and the laxness that so easily works its way into daily life.

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Lord, I’ve often seen how the state of my life, whether organized or in total disarray, is a reflection of the state of my soul. These words from Your Word easily motivate me to tidy up my home and computer files. They are more difficult to apply to the way I care for people or my own soul. Both can so easily become messy and without purpose. Help me to know well the condition of everything that You have put under my care. Show me the best way to give attention to anything that is not as it should be. I know that physically moving from one place to another helps to declutter, but obeying You in this does not require that I move to another place. Instead, You ask me to simply get moving.

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