May 24, 2021

Go and Measure

Revelation 11:1-4

I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers.”

—  Revelation 11:1

Here the apostle John is told to measure the temple of God and to count the worshipers. Perhaps the point of this exercise had to do with how many people could come into the temple courts to worship. Would the old temple in Jerusalem be big enough so that the people of God from all nations could worship there?

This got me thinking about the church buildings in the little village where I live. If I were to measure those buildings and count the worshipers who attended there, what would the report look like? I could probably point out the fine architecture and beautiful stained-glass windows, as well as the comfortable dimensions of the buildings. But if I counted the worshipers lately, both congregations would have the same number attending services: zero. That’s because the churches in our area stopped gathering for worship recently to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But God’s church is not real­ly about buildings, is it? What counts is not the size of our church buildings or how many worshipers gather there. What matters to God is that we are faithful witnesses where he plants us.

A child in one of my former congregations once said some wise words to her neighbor who struggled with addiction. She said, “Jane, you need Jesus.” Her small voice was a faithful witness that God used to shine his life-giving light into Jane’s darkness.

Lord, thank you for letting us be your witnesses wherever we are. Help us to be faithful. Amen.

About the author — Jim Poelman

Pastor Jim Poelman and his wife, Linda, served five churches in Ontario and British Columbia for thirty-nine years. They enjoy family gatherings with their extended household of children and grandchildren—29 members in all—often creating lots of happy noise.

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