The Philippines recently experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that was devastating for the area of Bohol where it was centered. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. Watch this video and see how suddenly things can change:
I have been jolted a few times by earthquakes myself, in California and in the Philippines, and it is a very unnerving experience. But watching this collapse unnerved me in a different way. Here are some things I was reminded of:
1 – Church buildings are important historically, not eternally.
There is a difference. What we think of as so important now culturally, nationally, and historically will one day be no more. Think of that. The Bible says that heaven and earth will one day pass away, and God will fold them up like a coat (Hebrews 1:12). So, in reality, every historical building that you see will one day be gone. That should give us an eternal perspective.
2 – The church is made of people, not bricks and stone.
No doubt, there are many distraught people over the collapse of this centuries old church. Likewise, we mourn and are discouraged when old church buildings in our towns are converted into houses, restaurants, and bars. But are we concerned about the building, or the fact that there are no worshipers filling it? That’s the question.
3 – We should be more shocked about falling numbers of disciples than a falling bell tower.
When I first saw the video above, I let out an audible “wow”. It just came out. The sight of something like that in real life is shocking. But we should be more emotionally and spiritually moved by the fact that people around us every day are rejecting Christ. We should be more impacted by declining discipleship than by a crumbling building. Are we? Are you? Am I?
Please don’t misunderstand this post. My heart is in the Philippines. I do hurt for the people impacted, and I am sorry that this historic structure collapsed. But my point is still valid: the building is not important eternally; the people are. In our churches, we are often more impacted by a change in the physical environment around us (new worship center construction, renovated nursery area) than we are by life change in the people around us. It shouldn’t be that way.
Question: What about you? Do you find yourself more impacted by a change in environments or a change in a life? What do you think about my assertions above? Leave a comment below.