Lost in the piles and files
I was frantically looking for a document the other day so I could finish my taxes. I began in the master bedroom, moved to the kitchen where papers are sometimes piled up, and then went on to the home office. After cleaning off two desks and the top of a filing cabinet, I began to clean out a box. I didn’t find the document but I did discover three unopened envelopes that contained offering checks to our church—dated July 2011. Oops.
I then moved to the church office down the highway and began the same process there. After taking a couple of hours to go through piles of stuff on my desk and a box of more stuff I kept in the shower (Yeah, I know), I opened a desk drawer. There I saw it. No, not the sought after document. Rather, I saw a file folder marked “Urgent.” Behind it was a file folder marked “Important.” The stuff in the “Urgent” file was dated 2005 and 2006. I guess it wasn’t that urgent after all. I couldn’t bear to look in the “Important” file. Who knows how long it had been in the drawer?
As embarrassing as this story is to tell, in the great scheme of life the misplaced and forgotten items were of little long-term significance. Everyone misplaces things, even important things. The tragedy is when we lose and misplace ourselves, intending—someday—to make things right.
As a pastor, I know scores of people who are “used-to-be’s.” That is, they are people who used to be committed, faithful Christians. They used to be dependable church members. Perhaps they used to be Sunday School teachers, board members, youth workers, or children’s workers. I know people who used to be ministers, pastors, priests, and even bishops. Some of these people used to be tithers and generous givers. They used to be examples that inspired people. They used to pray. They used to read the Scriptures. They were people upon who the Church could depend. But no more.
Some are pale shadows of who they used to be while others are not who they used to be at all. Somewhere, somehow, they lost themselves in the boxes, and piles, and files of life. They have become, for all practical purposes, of no value. The checks that sat in my cardboard box in the basement office did no one any good. They had potential but not as long as they remained lost. There are those who were once useful, vibrant, even powerful, but have sadly become “used-to-be’s.” You know who you are.
Easter is the highest, holiest day in the Church calendar. It is also the day that most commemorates and celebrates the return of hope to those who had become hopeless. It is a day of being “found.” It is a day where people who have lost themselves and have lost their way can return to God, to Church, and to usefulness.
Be found this Sunday. Hide from God and His purposes for your life no longer. Don’t stay lost in the piles of stuff that life heaps upon you. Go home to Church. If you don’t have one, find one. If you would like an invitation, come to my church—even if only for one Sunday. God will restore you and life will become good again—but you must want to be found. Your file really is marked “Urgent.” Don’t ignore it—please!
David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Easter Sunday Services will be held at 8 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org) He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org).