Outside The Walls

Feb 25, 2020

In 538 B.C., the Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. After eighteen years, minimal construction had been completed. Their enemies attempted to infiltrate them, discourage them, frighten them, and bribed people to disrupt their plans. Evidently, their tatics worked. The construction of the temple was brought to a stand still and their attention turned to their personal property. In 520 B.C., God used Haggai to encourage the people to evaluate their priorities and start building the temple once again.

In Haggai 1:4, God spoke through Haggai saying, “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?” The people had been far more concerned with the construction of their own homes than with the construction of the temple. This selfishness lead to unfulfillment, poor harvests, and droughts. When called out by Haggai, they could have continued to live comfortable complacent lives or get up and get to God’s work. They worked with enthusiasm and completed the temple in four years.

This enthusiasm for building the temple is still strong in America today. Church facilities across this nation have quality articheture, sound systems, stage design, and the latest technology. We should maintain church facilities and there is nothing wrong with updating them, but if Haggai were to deliver a message to us, would he ask why we have luxurious facilities while the communities around them lie in ruins? Would he call us out for investing so much in our facilities and neglecting our neighbors needs? Would he point out the effectiveness of places of worship around the world that are far less aesthetically pleasing? 

Our enthusiasm for building the Church must be greater than our enthusiasm for our facilities and creating an appealing Sunday experience. Creating a comfortable atmosphere for people to spend a few hours a week must not take precedent over the people who are outside the walls. There are people in our communities who are lying in ruins. Relational problems, health concerns, loss of loved ones, employment issues, addictions, and financial strains are ruining those within our reach. More importantly, people in our commuinities are lying in eternal ruin without the hope of a relationship with Jesus. 

Do the ruins of our community cross our mind as we sit with friends in the comfort of our luxurious church facilities? Are the eternal ruins of those we come into contact with concerning to us? If not, we are complacent and all of the talk on Sundays is mere lip service. Offering service times that our community can attend is great, but it isn’t enough. If service times are all we offer, we aren’t serving our community well. If we are only interested in investing in ourselves, we aren’t carrying out The Great Commission. We must start serving those outside the walls as a bridge to sharing the love of Jesus with them. If we are unwilling to leave our luxurious facilities to serve our community, we may be the ones who are lying in ruins.

"But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22