A local department store just had its end-of-the-season, blow-out sale. My husband and I have become fans of this yearly summer clearance event. When the 48-hour window opened to purchase items for an extra 40% off the already marked down to the lowest price – well – yours truly was ready to shop.
Dennis, my husband, found about a dozen shirts. Now that might sound excessive but who can resist when you only spend $10.00 for $70.00 (or more) name brand, golfers’ knit tops? He couldn’t. My day was equally exciting with purchases from my favorite designers at bargain basement prices. We each came home with an armful of deals.
As we headed for the closet, my husband made a comment about his old garments that hung on the rack. Some pieces hadn’t been worn for years; some no longer fit; some were outdated. “I need to purge,” he said. “One day soon, I’m goin’ get around to it.”
I reminded him that he had made that same comment several days before concerning the boxes of tax records that lined the top self in that same closet. Thirteen, man-size shoe boxes with thirteen years of paper receipts, which is about twice the number of previous years’ records the IRS requires, were in our closet for safe-keeping. “Yep,” he said, “I’m goin’ get around to it.”
Several days later, we had a two-day commitment in Springfield, IL. We loaded our car with some of our latest fashions and headed up the road. After several ministry engagements and one overnight, we were back on the highway for our return trip. We arrived home, unloaded our new clothing from our car, and headed to the closet. The closet door would not open. It was jammed. It was jammed from the inside. It would barely even budge.
I pushed repeatedly until I could work my hand through the opening, feel for the light switch, and turn on the closet light. Not much was visible through the small crack, but I could see the wall where Dennis’ clothing rack was normally mounted. It was bare. No hanging clothes! No stacks of folded linens! No boxes of tax records! Not even the rack, itself! Nothing! In a flash of a second, I knew. The weight of the unpurged heaps of stuff had pulled the anchors out of the wall, unfastened the mountings, ripped open the plaster, bent the metal bars, and thrust the contents onto the floor to create the non-movable piles on the back side of my closet floor. ‘Goin’ get around to it’ was no help at this point in the time line. Now it was more like: ‘should have’ or ‘wish I would have.’
The next few hours were spent painstakingly making a way to get through the barred door and then empting the contents from the closet floor. Hangers hung from every door knob, the shower curtain, and the handles on the dresser. Clothes were draped over the chair backs and piled on the bed. The bedroom floor was lined with stacks. Finally, the unpurged contents had been relocated. All that would be needed was to find a handyman to remount the fixtures so we could refill the closet.
Yes – I did say refill the closet – but only after the purge. The crisis caused that infamous ‘goin’ get around to it’ day to become ‘put if off no longer’ day. Proverbs 12:24 declares: “Diligent hands will rule but laziness ends in forced labor” (NIV). Solomon probably did not have super sales and stuffed closets in mind when he wrote that bit of wisdom, but Dennis and I could not help but apply his words to us. We decided that the updated and revised version of the text should read: “‘Put it off no longer’ hands will rule, but ‘goin’ get around to it’ will (DEFINITELY) end in forced labor.”