By David Faust
Robert Frost wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” A humorist added his own twist: “Actually, home is the place where, when you live there, something has to be fixed!”
Obviously, “every house is built by someone” (Hebrews 3:4a). No house ever emerges from rubble because wood, metal, and glass spontaneously fall into place. If an ordinary house requires an architect to draw up blueprints and a builder to put all the pieces together, doesn’t the universe require a creator? “God is the builder of everything” (v. 4b).
What kind of house would God build? Paul said, “God’s household . . . is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15). Peter wrote, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). God’s prophets and apostles served as construction workers, building a spiritual temple where the Lord dwells with his people (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house” (Hebrews 3:5); however, he was not the homeowner. That distinction belongs to Jesus, who “is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory” (v. 6).
TAKING CARE OF GOD’S HOUSE
To illustrate our responsibilities in the church, consider how you care for your own home.
Keep it clean. Floors need to be vacuumed and mopped, furniture must be dusted, and dishes need to be washed. In the church, sin should be confronted and confessed.
Do preventive maintenance. Storms are coming, so think ahead. Missing shingles must be replaced. Leaky windows must be caulked. Likewise, to weather the storms ahead, church members must learn how to pray, serve, and think biblically.
Invest in upkeep. It takes a lot of money and elbow grease to keep a house in good repair. Home improvements often cost more and take longer than expected. “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures” (Proverbs 24:3-4). Faithful stewards don’t take God’s house for granted. They plan carefully and give generously to keep it strong.
Now and then, freshen up the decor. Over time, rooms need new furnishings and fresh coats of paint. While the church’s foundational beliefs remain unchanging, new methods and technologies help us communicate with relevance in a changing culture.
Protect it from vandals and thieves. Just as we lock our doors and windows for security reasons, the church must guard against savage wolves that harm the sheep.
Open it to others. Our churches and homes should be places of hospitality—“hospitals” nurturing souls back to health. Referring to the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17). His church puts out a welcome mat inviting sinners like ourselves from every ethnic group to come and join the family.
An ancient prophet challenged the people, “How is it that it’s the ‘right time’ for you to live in your fine new homes while the Home, God’s Temple, is in ruins?” (Haggai 1:4, The Message). Until we move into our mansions in Heaven, let’s take care of God’s house!
Personal Challenge: How much time, effort, and money do you invest in the place where you live? How does this compare with what you invest in the Lord’s church?