Sent:  March 5, 2002

Subject:  The Value of a Battered Desk!

Good Morning Ethan & Emily:

One of the biggest temptations and “traps” that we face as Christians in the materialistic world in which we live is never being satisfied or finding contentment…but finding ourselves always wanting “more.”  Life today offers a never ending stream of new products, gadgets, and things that we are told we “must have,” and we are constantly faced with “success” programs and seminars in addition to never ending beauty offers and cosmetic enhancements that come at us from all sides!  We are led to believe that if you do not “have” the best…or if, in fact, you “are” not the best…you are, to some degree, a failure.

Always wanting more is a treadmill that will wear you out…and rob you of the joys and blessings to be found along life’s way as you walk hand in hand with God and find contentment not in things…but in His presence alone.  The writer of Hebrews tells us:  “Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have.  For God has said, ‘I will never fail you.  I will never forsake you.'”  (Hebrews 13:5)

And when we enjoy genuine fellowship with our Lord and have His approval, we are rich indeed.  Paul said it so well:  “Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth.  After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die.  So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.  But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil.  And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”  (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

What should we do…and how should we react?  Paul told Timothy to “run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good.  Pursue a godly life along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight for what we believe.  Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you and obey His commands with all purity.”  (1 Timothy 6:11-14)

The “lure” of always wanting more or having the best is so strong!  I have struggled with it myself, and I would like to share a recent personal example in my own life that dealt directly with these issues.  When we moved our sales offices into temporary modular space to prepare for the remodeling and expansion of our present office building, I was asked to leave my desk in place and use another from another department.  In this department were four desks, and since I am a Vice-President, I was assured that I would have my choice of the best desk.  However, as I suspected, when the time came for the move, the desk that ended up in my new temporary office was the least desirable one…the one most “beat up.”  It was never intended to be so…it just happened that the workman moving the desks moved them without really inspecting them.

As you know, I like to have things “just right.”  And knowing that I would be working at this desk for perhaps a year until our new offices were finished really “bothered” me, and all sorts of alternatives and ideas came to mind as to how I would solve this “problem.”  Since at least several of the similar desks were moved to empty offices, I made plans to come in over the weekend and disassemble the undesirable one in my office and replace it with the best one I could find.  This would take a lot of work but in my mind, the effort would be worth it, as I would then have “the best.”

To be truthful there have been times in my life when I have “replaced the desk,” so to speak and have made changes and/or additions to get something better or to make sure I got the best of whatever was available.  There is nothing really wrong with that…but it can again be a “treadmill” that never seems to end…and this cycle of non-contentment can repeat itself in your life over and over with exhausting frequency.

Much of contentment in life has to do with how we “view” things…that is, what our perception is of the circumstance in which we find ourselves.  And, while I was in the midst of trying to decide what I was going to do about this desk, I woke up one morning asking myself:  “Why can’t I be contented with this desk?”  And…I really can’t explain how it all came about, but I believe God Himself put the thought in my mind:  “Larry, this desk really isn’t all that bad.  Is it really worth all the effort to make the change?  Why not turn this “bad” thing into a “good” thing?  Why not think of the nicks and scars on the desk as a daily reminder to you of the pain and scars that Jesus bore for you on Calvary?  Let it remind you daily of His love for you!”  And like a tidal wave of relief, “contentment” swept over me and released me from the materialistic grip that “wanting more” and “having to have the best” had on me!

I decided to keep the desk, and the next week I found just the perfect ink marker in a hobby store that covered the splintered and nicked areas on the desk surface so well you can hardly see them today.  Yes, the desk is still the same “battered” desk.  The other three are in better condition, but I love the desk I have, and I wouldn’t trade it now in a heartbeat!  Now, when I sit at it and the pressures and stress of the day close in, I am reminded of my Lord’s presence, and I find comfort and strength to move on.

Life can be a never ending and frustrating struggle to “get ahead” and to always have more and more…but God wants us to have His peace, His joy, and His contentment.  Next time you find yourself in the “rat race,” stop by Dad’s desk in your mind and may you find peace and contentment as I did.

Have a wonderful day.

Sending my love…