Tuesday, September 18, 2012

For the People





Scripture

Then he brought me out into the outer court and led me across to the four corners of the court; and behold, in every corner of the court there was a small court.
(Ezekiel 46:21 NASB)
In the four corners of the court there were enclosed courts, forty cubits long and thirty wide; these four in the corners were the same size.
(Ezekiel 46:22 NASB)
There was a row of masonry round about in them, around the four of them, and boiling places were made under the rows round about.
(Ezekiel 46:23 NASB)
Then he said to me, “These are the boiling places where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifices of the people.”
(Ezekiel 46:24 NASB)

 

Observation


This is a description of the reconstruction of God's temple and ultimately where the Priests were to be located when making sacrifices for the people. Out in the furthermost corners of the courtyard were small private courtyards and it was in these places that sacrifices could be boiled. These courtyards were designed to be near the people who needed them the most -- the ordinary people of Israel.

 

Application


God designed the ministry of his holy temple to be near to his people -- so that it would be convenient for them to fulfill the requirements of the law. The church today must also evaluate whether its ministry is close to, or far away from the people who really need it! Sadly, in some cases, we have become ivory towers -- places which we have made very nice so that we ourselves can enjoy them. We have not put the place of ministry as close to the street as possible, but have sequestered our worship of God behind walls and fences.

Think about this -- what does it take to get to the place of worship where you are? Over a year ago I visited a church on a Sunday morning in the United States. I drove around the building wondering where I was supposed to enter. I really wasn't very sure. Finally I decided on a particular door. I made it to that door and I believe it was a main entrance. That day there was an adult there with a child helping them to "greet." The only problem was that the adult never said a word and allowed the small child to hand me a bulletin, which was sweet, but that was the end of it. No adult talked to me. I walked in feeling a little bewildered. I wasn't sure where to go next. I found some signage and made my way upstairs to find the sanctuary. While many people were there, still no one talked to me. Finally, I walked into the sanctuary and found a place to sit -- all the while wondering if I'd just taken the seat of regular "saint" and might be chided for my location. Now, I am a person who is familiar with attending churches -- usually at a different church every Sunday -- and if making my way to the place of worship was this uncomfortable for me -- imagine what it must be like for those who don't know Christ!

We must do everything that we can to take God to the people who need God. The good news which followers of Christ have to share is for the people -- it is not for us! We must remember that worship is about worshiping God and that the best news we have to share needs to get out to the people who need it. We ought to make our places of worship convenient for those who need to know Christ. We ought to work to break down every barrier which we may have created that makes it difficult for people to come to Christ. This may mean rethinking what we do inside the walls of the church, but it may also make us rethink the fact that most ministry is what happens outside the walls of the church. If we spend all of our time tweaking the things we do in the church building, we will never get to the people who need the Lord, who are outside. Make things accessible -- for the people!

 

Prayer


Lord, please help me to have eyes to see the world the way you do and to take you out into that world. Amen.

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