Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Brick and Mortar Masters
John 1: 37And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
39He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
Where does God dwell? That is one of the big questions. No doubt Jesus led the two inquirers to a simple, frugal, intimate place of rest.
We think of the rich attachment which developed between Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Jesus at Bethany. Our Lord wanted to go to that place. There he found courtesy, refreshment, respect, quiet personable conversation, shelter from the crowds and pace. The friends there were sensitive to His needs and were delighted to learn at His feet.There He was confident that His words and attention were treasured.
Recently my wife and I attended a fellowship which is considering yet another major building campaign. The tension was quite evident in the pastor's message as he shared more of the Board's vision in expansion. So many more programs possible. So much comfort. So many practical helps. So many more visitors expected.
Then comes the pressure to make really effective use of all the new space. The Bulletin Board touts a growing list of activities which "one really must attend." The momentum picks up, but sadly, "Bethany" is diminished.
In my topical Bible I see that Bethany translates "the house of unripe figs". We read in another place that Jesus approached a fig tree rich in foliage but lacking fruit. He cursed that tree. We are told that it represented the organized religion of His day, pretentious and barren.
Bethany was also the place where the disciples got the donkey which was used to carry Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.(Mark 11)
I am not suggesting that brothers and sisters meet in a humble garage or cottage. I am issuing a warning however against becoming enslaved to the mortgage, bricks and mortar. In any fellowship if the word gets around that Jesus inhabits the praise, corporate prayer and a clear word of teaching and exhortation, the people will come. Funds may also be in reserve to help those in need and to send abroad to missions and Bible distribution.