The Church with Props

Amos 7:8; Matthew 7:24-27

There is nothing quite as charming as a quaint little white chapel, welcoming the weary wanderer to come in.  It was in such a chapel that I made my personal commitment to live the rest of my life as a follower of Jesus.  On the last night of a summer revival meeting, on the last verse of “Just as I am,” I went to the front of the church and told my dad about my decision.  A few weeks later, I was baptized, buried with Christ in baptism, raised to walk in the newness of life.  Of course, at age seven, I didn’t have a lot of sins to confess, and I didn’t have much of a rebellious life to overcome.  I was making an honest attempt to get my life straight with God and set a firm foundation.

That little chapel would have been more quaint if it had not been situated in the parking lot of the high school football field.  Yes, you read correctly.  Every Friday night, the church yard was filled with fiercely loyal Texas high school football fans.  My father simply found it useful as a reference point when inviting people to church. Everyone knew where Trinity Baptist was. In addition, we were known as “the church with props.” Through some design flaw, the walls of the building began to lean and bow out over time.  Therefore, the solution was to scotch two by six studs together at a 45 degree angle and prop the walls up. There was always a deacon or two stationed outside to deter youngsters who might view those props as some sort of playground equipment.  “Hey! You kids get off there! Do you want the walls to fall down?”

Some of you may be saying, “But the Cathedral of Notre Dame has outter supports, and they’re beautiful!”  Yes, it does, and yes, they are. I have seen it in person. It’s breathtaking. This is not that.  Two by six studs, painted white and stuck in the ground, leaning into the top of the wall do not a cathedral make.

cathedral-notre-dame-paris-36137_w1000

I’ve often wondered over the years whether the builders were woefully incompetent or pitifully apathetic.  In either case, they must have had accomplices. This kind of thing had to be noticed by at least one person.  I’ve also wondered why the congregation never decided to employ a proper fix and remove the props.  Neither ignorance nor apathy are extolled as spiritual virtues.  To be fair, though, we often conduct our lives like that.  We prop up whatever is leaning, and we leave it there….just… propped up. We tell people not to lean on the props. We paint the props to match.  In the end, we’re still just propped up.

I drove by that little church a couple of months ago. The props were gone! Someone finally realized this was a real problem, a spiritual problem. God doesn’t live in a building, but it is a physical representation of his presence in the world. Should it not reflect diligence and thoughtfulness? So, whoever you are, dear saint who moved the congregation of Trinity Baptist Church to fix the walls and remove the props, may God bless you for your work. You are in no wise least in the kingdom.

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Published in: on October 10, 2017 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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