“Do not re-use!”

Sometimes you just have to catch up with filing. For the past five years, I’ve been stuffing my sermon manuscripts into a file drawer in rough chronological order, but the file drawer was getting full and it was time to put all those manuscripts into three-ring binders so I could actually refer to them if I wanted. What’s the point of keeping all those manuscripts if I can’t use them?

As I sorted through all those manuscripts, things would catch my eye. I had labeled one sermon, preached five years ago at a church which shall remain nameless, “DO NOT RE-USE!” in big purple letters. Oh yes, I remembered now — that was a real stinker, probably the worst sermon I’ve ever given. Another sermon was labeled “Blah” — not surprisingly, I have no memory whatsoever of that one. A dozen pages of handwritten manuscript were labeled, “Never finished, never used” — I have no idea why I kept those pages, but under the assumption that I must have had a reason I dutifully inserted them into the appropriate time slot in one of the binders. Another sermon caught my eye, because I remembered that when I wrote it I thought it was pretty good — I re-read it, and it was not very good at all.

But who cares if it was the failed sermons that caught my eye. It has very been satisfying to get all those manuscripts organized. For someone like me, a good filing system is its own reward, regardless of what the files actually contain.