If God is every where and we can worship him anytime, how important are our church buildings?
Reference: v. 28b "And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place." (NIV Bible)
Explore: Last year I was assisting a single mother by picking her children up and driving them to school. Her three primary aged children were great kids and we often had good chats on the short journey. I discovered that one of them enjoyed looking at maps. Every time it was his turn to sit in the front he would grab my street directory and find the route we were taking. I was amazed as he didn't seem to really enjoy the learning aspects of school, and yet here he was reading out street names and learning to use a map. One day he found a highlighter in the console of the car and began highlighting the route we had been taking. I must be honest, the first thought was that he was overstepping the mark and defiling my directory. But that thought was quite fleeting as I realised that it was a pretty old edition and what did it matter if a few streets were highlighted. Later on I was analysing my thought process. What if my street directory had have been new? Would I have been so easy going about a young boy highlighting the pages? When I should have been so excited about his eagerness to learn and enjoy something very practical, was I more worried about my own possessions?
The Jews were worried that Paul had brought Gentiles into their temple and therefore defiled it's holiness. And yet one of the most liberating things Jesus said was that there would come a time when we would no longer have to go to a particular place to worship God. So if God is every where and we can worship him anytime, how important are our church buildings?
Application: It's so easy to get possessive over our own belongings, as well as the belongings of the church we may be a part of. In some places it seems that if we keep our feet off the seats then we are going to connect with God in a more powerful way! Now, I'm all for places being clean but I know that I was never happier than when 300 children left our church after a Christmas service with wrappers on the floor and the pews all crooked. 10 minutes of clean up was worth 300 children hearing the true message of Christmas.
Are we too possessive over what is ours? Sometimes I think we need to take a step back and realise the damage we are doing by keeping everything in it's 'right' place.
Prayer: Lord, it's difficult working with people that have different priorities to ourselves. Help us to keep an open mind and remind ourselves to put people before buildings. Amen.
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.