Does your desk glorify God? Can you glorify God in your administration? These are the questions I addressed with my Leadership class students recently when we discussed the problem of paper (or data). Some pastors seem to think that the power of the Gospel stops at their office door! But there is no area of life we can say to God, “No entry!” In this interview with Christianity Today, Matt Perman of argues that administration is part of the good works we do to glorify God.

The Beauty of Organization

We are used to thinking about mountains or lakes or Apple Macs when we think about beauty – but not about administration. But I believe orderly administration is beautiful because:

  • It portrays the image of God (Gen.1:27)
  • It obeys the mandate of God (Gen.1:28)
  • It gives pleasure to God (Gen.1:31),
  • It reflects the nature of God (1 Cor. 14:33, 40).

Sin, by way of contrast, is anomos, lawlessness, disorder and chaos.

The Benefits of Organization
Efficient organization is not only beautiful, it is also beneficial.

  • Available time increases as we spend less time looking for things. Matt Perman quotes To do, doing done, “Clutter sucks creativity and energy from your brain.”
  • Our peace increases because we are not always worrying if we missed something. We enjoy our work a lot more.
  • The effectiveness of our witness increases because if we fail to answer correspondence or keep appointments we lose credibility and people’s confidence.

You might say that the cultural mandate “Rule and be fruitful” begins with our offices. Here’s a great series on How to set up your desk by Matt Perman.

The Barriers to Organization
As we would expect in this fallen world, anything beautiful or beneficial is not going to come easily. There are a number of obstacles to organization, not least of which are our own sinful hearts.

  • Our sinful hearts: Some people enjoy portraying themselves as Kings of their chaos. The monotonous drudgery of organizing puts some off, while others claim that a clean space would spoil their creativity! We do get attached to our things and resist getting rid of them. “It may be trash, but it’s my trash.”
  • The sins of others: Maybe we are married to chaotic people and we cannot get them to cooperate. Perhaps we have been given an impossible workload that prevents us ever doing anything well.
  • Changes: Sometimes we feel that we just get settled into a good routine when the next change comes along and all the balls we’ve been juggling fall to the floor again. Whenever we change computers, or have to get used to new software, our organizing is going to take a backward step. And any change in study or living location is obviously going to engulf our studies as well.
  • Storage: Sometimes our problem is simply that we do not have enough storage space, or it is not close enough for us to use it. Others, however, set up such a complex storage system that it just puts them off using it. We also need simple storage solutions for electronic information.

Yes, even our administration needs to be redeemed. Tomorrow we’ll look at a Blueprint for Organization, and the Balance of Organization.

UPDATE: “Tomorrow” has been postponed until Monday ;)