As I scanned the desktop searching for a stapler and paper clips under a tidal wave of school papers and assignments, second-grade student Adam came around with a clipboard. He had finished his work already, plus a learning center activity and a fifth-grade level library book.

“So, Adam, what are you up to?”

“I’m the desk inspector this week.”

That had been his assigned classroom job. “You’re doing great!,” I remarked, remembering how he had worked side by side by a student whose desk always looked like rubble after a bombing. Now the student had papers grouped neatly and a pencil box visible. When I asked the students to get out a pencil, crayon, tissue, or math book, Cindy could actually find hers.

In addition to helping the students clean their desks, Adam handed at slips that gave them a grade. Most of them got “A”s or excellent.

“I’m inspecting your desk, too, Mrs. Russell.”

I groaned. If organization is a genetic gift, Adam had it. I do not.
But I keep hearing that organization is a learned skill. I’m willing to learn.

“But I have to say after seeing all the teachers’ desks,” he decided, “That yours is the best of the grown ups!” He handed me a paper with an “A” on it.

The rest of the day, I soared, even though I still hadn’t found my stapler.
I realized that we are all a work in progress, and Adam was expecting the best and helping everyone to do it.

That is the same with God. He has plans and tasks for us, expects the best, helps us with the challenges, and applauds our improvements along the way.

Paul writes in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Think on God’s confidence in you and your future. It’s not, “Needs improvement!” but instead, “A celebrated work in progress!”

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, check her blog every week on]

About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

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