I have been thinking a lot lately about organization – the purpose of it, the good that it does, and even the bad that it can bring. Let me start by saying that chaos and disorder drive me absolutely nuts. I am a list-making, note-writing, calendar-keeping kind of gal. My husband and I share a Google calendar so we can keep up with each other’s schedules; I have a hand-written daily schedule, which I make every weekend that includes details of the upcoming week; I meal-plan and prepare my grocery list according to the meals for the week; and I have specific days for doing specific household chores. Although I’m by no means perfect at it, and certainly never will be, I LOVE order and organization! And it is clear in God’s Word that God himself desires organization too. We see in the Creation account in Genesis that God took what had no form and brought orderliness to it to make it function in a particular way. Additionally, in 1 Corinthians 14:40, Paul is speaking about worship gatherings and writes, “But all things should be done decently and in order.” Orderliness and organization are admirable things!
The good side of organization is pretty obvious: It helps with time-management, finances, and the cleanliness of our home. Organization makes sure that I get where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be there and that, in general, our home is run like a well-oiled machine. But what is the point of organization if I’m not also using it to do good for my church body, neighbors, other family members, or friends? Organization could mean having a meal in the freezer, ready to take to someone in need or to pop in the oven when unexpected guests drop by. It could also mean having your spare bedroom ready and available for an individual or family who may need a place to stay. As Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” No matter our method of organization or even if organization is not our strong suit, as Christians, we should be ready and willing to serve when the opportunity arises. We know that there are many positive attributes to organization, but what about the negative ones?
What happens when something good becomes something bad? I’m talking about idolatry. Yes, our human hearts tend to turn what God intended for good into something that dishonors and displeases Him. Organization most definitely can fit that description. I have been guilty of wanting my home and family-life to appear to be well-organized in order to impress other people. Rather than being organized to help me be more efficient to the glory of God, I was organized for the sake of being neat and tidy for my own selfish desires. As Tim Challies says in his book, Do More Better, “Your good works are like a light, and when that light shines, it illuminates God. When people see that light, they aren’t meant to look at you and say, ‘He’s incredible’ or ‘She’s amazing.’ They are meant to look at God and say, ‘He is awesome.’”
In addition, I’ve also been one (and still sometimes am) who sacrifices family time or fellowship for the sake of keeping up with my to-do list. Now, don’t get me wrong, life can’t always be a party, and there are times when we must sacrifice going to have coffee with a friend because right now is the only time we’ll be able to clean our house during a busy week! On the other hand, however, it most definitely could be that having coffee with a friend who’s going through a tough time should be your priority at that particular moment. But we must use wisdom when making these decisions, and we must think about which action (in this case, cleaning or fellowship) would be most pleasing to God at that time, keeping in mind our responsibility to our husbands and children. Whoever said life is a balancing act was absolutely right! No matter what we decide in situations such as those, let us always strive to make the choice that would bring the most glory to God.
“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”
2 Corinthians 5:9