Orderliness – a Virtue

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin, who I wrote about yesterday, identified thirteen virtues he wanted to exemplify? His autobiography tells of how he came to arrive at them, and how he kept his affairs in balance with those virtues as a guide. I’ve not made a New Year’s Resolution in a long long time but I do choose a focus for the coming year, usually in the last few days of one and the beginning of the next. This year I’ve chosen Orderliness, one of Ben Franklin’s virtues as my focus for at least the first quarter of 2008 (may take me longer, we’ll see).

Orderliness for the sake of tidiness is one thing, but I’d like orderliness in my context to facilitate some other values. Here’s what I mean (I’ll try to be brief)

  • When I spend a lot of time looking for things, I use up time I could use to enjoy other aspects of life. Orderliness (a place for everything and everything in its place) shortens that search-time so I can finish tasks more quickly and enjoy my yard and flowers. In the summer anyway. Not today. It’s – 10* wind chill at the moment.
  • Clutter saps my energy and hobbles my creativity. When I was a kid I used to marvel at the way hobbles kept my friends’ milk cows from moving around while they were being milked. Take ’em off and the cows almost skipped out of the barn! Orderliness means a clean shop where I can do my work, a place that doesn’t make me wince when I walk in. It means a workspace where what I need is at my fingertips. A clean car. An uncluttered computer.
  • Order in my day – my wife would call it a routine – lessens the amount of time I have to spend deciding what to do next, because I’ve already determined that. So just get going! 🙂 Knowing God is expecting me to sit down with Him for a few minute at 5:45 each morning makes it easier to reach for my Bible.
  • Orderliness flexes, it’s true. I often defer my routine for the sake of the installation I’m tending to. I’m there to serve, to get the job done. Flexibility and Resourcefulness may take priority so we finish on time and everything works flawlessly. That is as it should be. Once the crunch is done, though, and mission’s accomplished, I can go back to my/our routine without having to spend a lot of time figuring out what it will be.

One doesn’t have to look far in this world we live in to see God’s sense of orderliness. I’d like my life and ministry to reflect a bit of that. For His glory. So I’m focusing on it as 2008 gets rolling.
Something to think about —

2 Replies to “Orderliness – a Virtue”

  1. annkroeker

    Haven’t been by for a while, Phil, and I like this post…probably because orderliness isn’t my strong point, so this is inspiring. I like to look at pictures in magazines where everything is in its place, but in reality, I live with a bit of clutter in every room. I agree with your reasons for choosing them–shortens the search time in order to return to something of enjoyment or the task at hand. Frees up time to spend with God, and later, with people. In a way, orderliness and routines actually helps one to gain time and free one to be spontaneous later.

    Thanks for the inspiration. We’ll be expecting you to post photographs of your calendar/planner, desk, car, yard, and work space at the end of the first quarter!

  2. Phil

    Oh-no.. a test?!! 😀

    You’ve put your finger on it and I like the way you described the benefits, Ann.

    Seriously, I should make a note to myself to do a self-check in three months. I really do want to free up time to do the truly important and to give spontaneity a fighting chance (or time to look up how to spell spontaneity).


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