In a recent trip to South Africa, my wife and I spent some time admiring the local architecture and found ourselves in an old church with white rendered walls and a thatched roof. Inside we met a lovely old couple who volunteer their time to answer questions tourists may have of the local area or the church.
After a small discussion with them I was reminded of the story of an older gentleman who was travelling through Europe with some friends. After many day trips and long nights at the bar the group decided on a tour of a local church, an ancient relic of yesteryear. As they walked through the beautiful old stone church they were in awe of its splendour. The tour guide would teach them the wonders of the building. The height of the steeple, the length of the pews and the hours spent on the mosaic windows. They were taught of the fine cobblestones from Italy and the list of famous artists commissioned to paint the ceiling. The group often commented to each other at the opulence of the building and how well this ancient building has been kept.
As the tour came to an end the tour guide stopped, turned to the group and asked “Do you have any questions?” The group of friends had nothing to ask as they had already had every question answered, but from behind them they heard a small deep voice. Unable to hear what was said they turned around and asked the gentleman to speak again. This time he cleared his throat and said in a husky slow voice “Has anyone been saved here lately? I mean that’s why it was built wasn’t it…?”
Do you sometimes feel you have forgotten your purpose and lost your first love?
As though the passing of time has watered your beliefs or dulled your passion. The gusto and urgency to run the race God once set for you through salvation has now become more of a distracted slow stroll through life, walking between walls and pillars of past generations but forgetting the purpose that they were originally built for.
My time in South Africa and this story remind me how easy it is to get taken up in the awe, strength and beauty of the old church walls but forget about the power living between them.
How easy it is to slip into the routine of living on what God did when we were younger, but forgetting that Christ is alive and active today. How easy it is to turn our temples into marketplaces, selling guided tours and boasting of famously painted ceilings, when we could be holding great church services boasting of the greatest artist, God.
Do not miss read my words. There are many great churches holding service with passion and seeing God’s power change the lives of many. But why are our tours of the buildings and not of the changed lives. Why do the tours not boast on the hours spent in worship? The thousands of lives that were transformed, the broken that were restored and the healing that was received. Yes the building may stand as a testament to that… but who is sharing the testimony?
I want to encourage you that a life dedicated to Christ is the most powerful testimony. More important than a beautiful building is a beautiful soul.
I am yet to hear of a building that transformed a life, but I cannot listen enough when people share their passion and love for Christ and what He has done in their lives. How He took them retched and broken and filled them with purpose and hope. We should eagerly share with boldness and humility the change that Christ has allowed to take place in our hearts.
David writes about this so well in [Psalm 71:15–18]
“I must tell people how good you are. I will tell about all the times you saved me, too many times to count. I will tell about your greatness, my Lord God. I will talk only about you and your goodness. God, you have taught me since I was a young boy. And to this day I have told people about the wonderful things you do. Now that I am old and my hair is grey, don’t leave me, God. I must tell the next generation about your power and greatness.”
As we know of David from the stories throughout the Bible, his actions of Godly living match the words coming from his lips. Likewise, our testimonies will be seen as true and our lives will carry the influence of Christ when our words and our deeds unite to share of God’s faithfulness.
Never do I want to memorise the height of a steeple and forget the pages of God’s word. Nor do I want to remember origin of the cobblestones and forget the present power of God.
I encourage you today to live bold in your faith, not as a tour guide showing people the ancient works of man, but rather to remember your first love and live showing man the amazing, current work of God. Because the truth is, without Christ you and I would still be retched, broken and lost, like the majority of humanity.
Ultimately life is not about the big house, nice car or the church you attend, it is about the God you serve and His love for the lost. Church isn’t even a building, it is you and I and thousands of others, all with a redemptive story of how the greatest artist of all has used and continues to use us in His masterpiece. Our role, like David, is to just to tell people of what God has done and His plan for them.
You don’t need to be an eloquent preacher with a pulpit or a famous evangelist with a big story. You just need to use your every day moments as your pulpit to share Christ’s big story.
You just need to use your every day moments as your pulpit to share Christ’s big story. There is opportunity with your next door neighbour, in the school yard or at the lunchroom table with work colleagues.
Everything about you says something about you, so a great place to start is with yourself. The first expression of Christ people will see is you.
Does your attitude towards your boss show God’s goodness? Do the words you speak to your children match the words God speaks to you? Do you share what God does in your life or do you play it down as luck and chance? If not, start there. If so, great! Continue to tell of God’s power and greatness.