Out of Order means It Doesn’t Work
My husband said to me, “Here. I’m bringing you a gift.” And in his hand he held a dozen or so empty hangers he had pulled from his shirt rack.
“Thanks. You can just put them in the laundry bin,” I told him, “I’ll take it down when I go downstairs.”
He looked at me in utter disbelief. “But then they will get all messed up!” (This man is 50 plus years old and he is serious.) I just stared, incredulous.
“They’ll be out of order,” he said.
I look to see him holding them neatly by their handles so that all the hooks are aligned. And, knowing his sense of order, I suddenly realize his cause for concern. If he tosses them in the bin, this will all fall apart. Someone (that would be me) will have to re-order them. But this is not really his concern. What he holds in his hands, ordered as it is, works. Out of order is out of the question.
I’m pondering this as I fold the rest of the shirts and I see, in my mind’s eye, the ‘Out of Order’ sign on the vending machine. To me that always meant: this machine doesn’t work, someone needs to come fix it. But now I am realizing that the ‘out of order’ sign means something much more simple. It means that the order of operation has been disrupted. Something has come out of line, causing this to malfunction.
Wow. What a description of sin: a misaligning of the intended order. God created us all lined up. A multi-color arrangement, many shapes and sizes, all with our handles oriented in the direction that hangs on the pole. When we were tossed down into the dirty clothes bin, of course, we got all messed up.
To someone like my husband, who incidentally will tell you he believes in God but won’t claim to know Christ, this is unthinkable, instinctively. No one in his right mind would take something perfectly ordered and disrupt it. It won’t work right. It will need a repair man, a service woman…oh, someone to come fix it.
Because of people like me, Christ came and, ever so carefully, turned all the hangers the right way.