The Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. (Acts 7:48)
Relate: For the first time in nearly a year I had the opportunity this Sunday to go back to my sending church. I probably should say “home church”, but one thing I knew already but which has become even more clear over these past weeks in the US is that Turkey is my home and Yeni Yaşam (New Life) is my home church. Even still, it was a beautiful privilege to be able to catch back up with so many people that I love so dearly back in Binghamton.
The church service starts at eleven which means we were out the door and on our way there sometime around seven. We pulled into the parking lot to see that already there was more than a half dozen others already arrived and starting to set things up. There were more people on the logistics crew than there were when I moved more than two years ago but even still, they need more time get things up and running than when I was here before. Of course, these guys got it down to a science and while I could help out with some things, other times I would just be getting in the way. So instead I took pictures…
React: It is amazing to see how a team of hard working individuals can do such a great job to transform a recreation center into a sanctuary, but that isn’t the finished product. The wiring and technical details required to set up and run the sound system are beyond me, but great acoustics and a rocking worship team is not the finished product. I know the work that went into the preparation of the message but even being able to present that well with notes broadcast overhead against the gym wall is not the finished product. No, the finished product is in the 6-10 hands that went up of those committing for the first time to dedicate their lives to following Jesus.
The entire reading from the Old Testament today is about Solomon’s building projects. In my personal reading I am at the end of Exodus where there is plenty of detail into the building of the Tabernacle and items for it. Clearly God honors hard work and excellence and beauty. I would even go so far as to say He demands it. However, He doesn’t do so for His benefit but rather for ours. God didn’t show up in the Temple because Solomon and all the workers made such a nice, beautiful building. He didn’t show up this past Sunday because so many people invested so much time and effort to turn a gym into a “church”. He didn’t even show up because multiple dozens more spent an extended time in prayer seeking His face. God showed up because God is God and He can do whatever He wants wherever He wants however He wants. What that beautiful Temple did, what all of our hard work and prayer does, is position ourselves so that we might better hear His voice when He speaks and see His move when He does. It also creates a distraction free environment where others can come in and do the same. God doesn’t dwell in a Temple made by human hands. We cannot earn His presence. We can just better prepare ourselves to see it when He comes.
Please keep me humble. Even as I give You my best and work my hardest, help me to recognize that it is all “because” not “for”. I work because You have done so much for me, I do not work so that I might earn Your favor. I want to give You my best in everything, but it is because You deserve it, not because You need it. Help me to work good without getting caught up in doing good works. You are beautiful. Let me live to reflect that, not try to capture it.