Measure Twice, Buy Once, Pray First

We are in need of creative storage options in my home.  We live in a small townhouse and, if you have (or have had) a small home, you understand where I’m coming from.  I have even taken to scouring Pinterest for space and organizing ideas.  (Yes, men, I have a Pinterest account.  Go ahead and laugh it up…)

Yesterday I was at a local big department store and found a fantastic deal on a set of bookshelves.  Just what I need for my office!  The idea being to put the bookcase in the office closet to store some items that currently have to shuffle through old copier paper boxes to get to.

Great idea, right?

One problem.  The bookcase is too big.  Too tall by about three inches.  I didn’t bother to measure the available space before making my purchase.  I bought the bookcase on an impulse.  Twenty-two dollars was a great price.

Now, having bought and lugged this very heavy thing upstairs, I will most likely have to box it back up, lug it back downstairs and into the van and, in the sub-zero wind chill, lug it back into the local big department store and return it.  All because I didn’t measure.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5, ESV).  I can see that.  Because of one less-than-thought-out impulse, my wallet is $22 lighter, and my office about 40 useless pounds heavier.

If we use theological terms to look at this situation, my Calvinist friends might tell me that God predestined that I would buy that bookcase.  And they might well be right.  And my Arminian friends would assure me that I’m just a careless moron who bought an oversized bookcase by his own freewill.  And they might be right.

Being firmly Calminian in my views, I can clearly see both sides.

The simple truth is this: I bought a bookcase.  A too-big, heavy bookcase.  I did not seek the Lord first in the situation.  Had I done so – had I stopped for just a moment to count the cost and seek His guidance – perhaps I wouldn’t be staring at the pile of shelving and cardboard littering my already cramped office.

I did not exercise wisdom.  Plain and simple.  And this is a very minor situation (extremely minor), so perhaps it is a good time to learn a little something from it before I make a big, impactful impulse decision that causes more than minor irritation and inconvenience.

1.: Count the cost.  Don’t go off half-cocked and end up shooting yourself in the foot.  We are called to seek first the kingdom of God, and part of that is seeking out His wisdom.  Had I done so, perhaps the Lord would have said, “Maybe you should measure the closet first, before you lug that thing out of the store, into the van, out of the van, into the house and up the stairs, and crack the box open.”  Make sure what you are doing fits first.  (Take that literally or metaphorically.)

2.: Maybe what you think is the answer isn’t really the answer.  I have certainly been wrong before.  In fact, if I could get rich off being wrong, I’d never have to go to work again.  In this case, perhaps the answer isn’t more shelving, but less stuff.  Simplify.  Clear out the clutter.  Reduce the management load.  Bless others who can use what you merely store.  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21, ESV).  (Again, equally applicable literally or metaphorically.)

3.: Don’t use theology to reign in God.  Maybe God did predestine that I would buy this bookcase.  Perhaps I have a neighbor or friend who needs it and this is His way of getting it to them.  Maybe God wants me to learn something from this experience.  (After all, all of life is a series of learning experiences.)  Or, maybe this is nothing more than an exercise of freewill and I am a foolish, impulsive oaf.  Either way, the end result is a win/win, because “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV).  God works His will, even in our failings and goof-ups.

4.: Had I dug a little deeper on Pinterest, I probably would have found a way to create a storage solution with used pop bottles and ribbon, thus removing the (impulsively perceived) need to buy the bookcase in the first place.

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