When I go to church tomorrow, I am committed to making it about God and encountering him. I will lay myself down and revere my Lord in his sanctuary. Church isn’t a marketplace, a variety show, or a networking event. It is God’s house of prayer…
45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Back in ancient times, when people would travel to Jerusalem to the temple, they would often have to exchange goods or currency to purchase animals for their offerings. This ended up happening right at the temple courtyard.
Imagine what that could look like today. You go into church and there is someone in the foyer offering to exchange currency denominations for you so you can put your desired amount in the offering plate. Can you break a $20? Why, yes. For a $1 fee. Okay thanks… Drums too loud? Gotcha covered. Holy noise cancelling earbuds! Get ’em while they’re hot! $5/pair.
While we might see some use for marketplace activities in the church, the risk is that it turns into a marketplace instead of a church. The risk is that the church could become a den of robbers, who manipulate people for profit.
Jesus finds his way to the temple, knowing what is going on there, and he turns over their tables and drives out the temple barkers. Why?
Because the temple was to be a place of prayer, of getting right with God, of humbling oneself before the Lord. Hmmm….
Is that what church is for you today? I have woken up recently on a Sunday morning and thought, “I want to get to church early enough to connect with that person…” I know others who say in their hearts, “I hope Pastor so-and-so is preaching today so I can get something out of it…” “I have to find something better to wear today – so-and-so always dresses so nice and I need to look good compared to her…”
We can easily make church into the 21st century den of robbers. When we pour our intentions and meaning into church, we twist it from prayer and humility and reverence into entertainment and personal agendas and… wait for it… a pay-for-service transaction.
We donate our hard-earned money to the church. We better get value for our money…
When I go to church tomorrow, I am committed to making it about God and encountering him. I will lay myself down and revere my Lord in his sanctuary. Will you?