When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he was grieved at the state of the Holy City, and of the temple. He could find no rest while the city of God was in such disrepair, while the place of God’s promise lay in ruins. He knew the beauty and glory of God, and of the way this was reflected through the temple in prior days. Nothing but the best was suitable for God, yet here lay the place of His gift in ruins.
When I see the disrepair in which our church buildings are found, I too am grieved. While we do not see these buildings as a temple, we do recognise them as a place of worship, and as the church home, where we share so much together. What does the state of the buildings say about the God we worship and serve? What does it say about the level of care we have for Him?
In the time since this worship centre was constructed, the vast majority of us have moved house, or made alterations, to meet the changing demands of time and differing family needs. Yet the buildings here continue to deteriorate. I am yet to hear someone declare the beauty of these buildings, nor have I heard anyone affirm their appropriateness for the ministry needs today. So what are we to do? The needs of the family of God in this place are significantly different from those of years gone by, and call for a new commitment to rebuilding for the future.
We are stewards of all that God has given into our care. We need to give due consideration to those who will follow us. What are we giving to them? What ground are we preparing for future ministry? What evidences of our love for God and His people will remain?
No one is pretending that a building is the only demonstration of our love for Jesus. But if we are to lay the ground for the future, we need to give consideration to the physical resources for ministry at every level. This requires a deep commitment on our part – a commitment to excellence in the things of God at every level. A commitment to stewardship of our time, talents and resources to see the work of God continue to grow. A commitment to doing whatever is necessary to see God’s name glorified.
What do you see and feel when you look at the church buildings? What would you prefer to see?
May 23, 1999