May 15, 2012
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. 1 Corinthians 3:7-9
The Lord's House is getting a spring cleaning.
It's about time. Fifteen-hundred years of living can make a place pretty dirty. And, as anyone can attest, the Church of the Nativity is a pretty dirty building.
Now there are a lot of reasons for that. The first reason is the traditional birthplace of Jesus draws an estimated one million visitors a year. Your house would look a bit disheveled if I traipsed a million or so folk through the place.
The second reason for the dirt is that nobody can agree as to who gets to clean what. There are three church bodies who control the Church and who has authority over what has occasionally brought the monks to fisticuffs.
These difficulties have been set aside now that rain has caused damage to the interior. Things are so bad conservationists are afraid much of the place's beauty will be lost if the difficulties are left unchecked.
It is estimated the renovation will take several years and multiple millions of dollars.
Having been in that church numerous times, I have often thought these Christian denominations are like the Corinthians. The only difference is that they, rather than saying, "I am for Paul or Peter or Apollos" were saying, "This wall is for the Latins; this floor is for the Greeks, and this pillar is for the Armenians.
It is time for differences about "who cleans what wall" to be set on the back-burner and for people to get the job done.
It is quite possible the same kind of difficulty may be happening at your church. The longest and most colorful voters' assembly I ever attended was one which spent three hours concerning a matter of incredible unimportance.
That's sad. The Lord Jesus has given His church a job to do and such doubtful disputations hinder rather than help the cause of Christ.
This is why, before we get into a battle with our brothers and sisters, we need to decide, "Is this a fight which needs to be fought; is this a struggle which needs to be engaged; is this something which will keep sinful souls from seeing the Savior's love?"
And if it is such a battle, then we enter it with respect, reverence and reluctance.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, it is always a disgrace when Your church falls into disrepair. Keep us ever mindful of the work You have given to us. Then, wishing to share the Savior, may we do that work with glad hearts. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries