There is a set of scriptures within the Doctrine and Covenants that has always given me a bit of trouble. Not because of what they actually say, but because of what my puny brain focuses on and remembers from what they say. See for yourself:

 

vacuum clean orderOrganize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

 

That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord, that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord, that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High— (D&C 109:8-9)

 

Can you guess what words I remember every time I close the scriptures and walk away? Organize, order, and house. Somehow over the years, I’ve taken a beautiful concept and turned it into something that seems impossible for me. I’m not an organized person. Far from it, in fact. Because these scriptures start with and re-emphasize these words, I have equated an orderly, clean, and well-running home with a heavenly home. Somehow I’ve assumed that God can only be closer to me when my chores are done. But really, that’s not what the scripture says at all.

 

Though these verses were given to provide specific parameters for what should be available to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when they entered God’s temples. As you can tell, I believe it is also a pattern for what God would like to have present in our everyday lives and dwellings. These are the things that matter most to our Heavenly Father as we try to build our lives around His son, Jesus Christ, and His teachings. In a sense, these two scriptures give us a pretty clear direction on where our personal priorities should be. Yes, there are plenty of things we face every day that aren’t covered here — but perhaps when we place these first, it becomes clearer what we are supposed to do with the rest of the items on our daily “to-do” lists.

 

cleaning supplies, orderThe problem is, I tend to get caught up in the “to-do” part, which puts my mind on worldly matters, and I forget that the parts that are most important. Does Christ ask His disciples to scrub their toilets before saying their morning prayers? Not really. There is a place for a clean home, of course; it offers peace and a greater sanctuary from the world. But what really matters as we try to build a relationship with the Savior is not necessarily the “organized” part, but what He is actually asking us to be reliable and organized in. Have you forgotten the other parts of the instructions?

 

Let’s review:

 

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

 

That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord, that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord, that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High— (D&C 109:8-9)

 

The things we need to make sure we have in our homes are: prayer, fasting, faith, learning, and worship. We need to make sure our homes are places where God is invited and can enter. Sure, it’s nice to offer Him a seat without first having to brush off yesterday’s paper. But it’s more important that the spirit of the home is inviting to His goodness and purity. The thing that is needful, the thing that must be present, is Christ.

 

When you take a look at your “to-do” list tomorrow, check and see how many of these elements of order are present. How fully are you providing yourself with a house of God? Where can you improve? When you look at it from God’s perspective, which things have you been constantly adding, just to beat yourself up with, that don’t really matter for the type of organized home you want?

 

Take a look and see how organized you are according to God’s pattern and I’ll try to do the same.

 

This post was originally published in July 2008. Minor changes have been made.

About Alison P

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