The linens box, the pots and dishes box, the two food boxes, the tent and sleeping bag box, the boxes of gas canisters, batteries, light bulbs, extension cords, insect repellent, clothesline and clothespins, books and Bibles, along with the tool box, first aid kit, two suitcases and two coolers lie stacked or scattered on the carport and porch, in the kitchen and living room. Although the linens are all camp linens, no longer used on an everyday basis, they must all be washed—and bleached—before I can put them away. Everything else must be sorted through. Some stay packed with the camping gear and others are returned to their regular homes in the pantry, on a shelf, in a cabinet, or in the shed. The tent must be set up in the field to finish drying and sleeping bags hung to air out. It is often two or three days before my home is back in order.
Over the past few years, I have learned to accept a little less order. Keith’s idea of order does not match mine, but he has had to take over the housekeeping several times so guess whose sense of order reigns then? But when I go into the shed looking for the garden trowel, I can never find it while he knows exactly where it is. In fact, he wants the item put right back where I got it, even if it doesn’t make sense to me because of his sense of order. I learned a long time ago not to touch the top of his dresser, no matter how much it aggravates me.
We each have a sense of order—no matter how messy others might think it—and we don’t want people rearranging things. Why do we think God wants us messing with His sense of order?
God’s sense of order has always had a reason, and while my sense of order is nothing but a selfish desire to keep things the way I want them, God’s sense of order is always for our good.
The order he imposes upon our assemblies is for the ease of edification. Camp awhile in 1 Corinthians 14. If there is no interpreter, don’t speak in tongues because no one will be edified (vv 15-19), and visitors will simply be confused (v 23). If more than one of you has a revelation, take turns so people can be edified rather than confused by the chaos of more than one speaking at a time (vv 27-28). Women should not be asking questions to put their husbands forward, when some other topic might be more important to the group at that time (vv 34-35). Surely we can see applications to today’s assemblies in all of that. God’s sense of order isn’t about who gets the most floor time, or how much we are entertained—it’s about how much edification occurs.
God’s sense of order for our lives helps us live happier, safer, and healthier. We take better care of our bodies, our relationships, and our minds when we follow His order. Even the ordinances that seemed to have nothing to do with us reinforce the goodness, the righteousness, and the holiness of God—things that are important to making us fit for an eternal life with a spiritual and holy Deity.
“Surely God wouldn’t mind” presumptuously ignores the fact that the Creator is the only one with the right to impose order in our worship of Him and in our lives of service to Him. “But I like it this way,” is simply selfishness and a slap in the face to God who has given everything to make it possible to be with Him forever.
God doesn’t really care if I keep my spare items on the bottom shelf of the pantry and the things actively in use at eye level. It doesn’t matter to Him that Keith keeps all the garden sprays and powders to the left of the middle pillar on the third shelf. But the order He does care about, should be my first concern too. In those things, God’s sense of order is the only one that matters.
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:3-4.