Proper Use – Nehemiah 10-13

13:4 But prior to this time, Eliashib the priest, a relative of Tobiah, had been appointed over the storerooms4 of the temple of our God. 13:5 He made for himself a large storeroom where previously they had been keeping5 the grain offering, the incense, and the vessels, along with the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil as commanded for the Levites, the singers, the gate keepers, and the offering for the priests.

13:6 During all this time I was not in Jerusalem,6 for in the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes of Babylon, I had gone back to the king. After some time7 I had requested leave of the king, 13:7 and I returned to Jerusalem. Then I discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah by supplying him with a storeroom in the courts of the temple of God. 13:8 I was very upset, and I threw all of Tobiah’s household possessions out of the storeroom. 13:9 Then I gave instructions that the storerooms should be purified, and I brought back the equipment8 of the temple of God, along with the grain offering and the incense.

God created his temple for a purpose.  It was to be a place of worship to God.  It was not to be a place of commerce (think of Jesus turning over the money changer table) and it was most definitly not to be a place of storage.  God expected his temple to be used for the proper purpose.

We can learn from this how we should use the building God has given us to steward.  You may have already read my post on No Buildings and know that I don’t think buildings are that important, but the truth is that we have a lot of church buildings and we need to steward them properly.  So what does that mean?

1.  They should be places of safety and outreach.  Use them for ministry the helps.  What about recovery ministries, side door ministries that lead people into Christian community like sports leagues.

2.  We should share our buildings.  If you always worship Sunday morning and a small church is trying to get started, offer them the use of the building Saturday night or at another time on Sunday morning.  If you worship on Saturday night offer them Sunday.

3.  Use them, use them, use them.  Most church buildings get used Sunday, Wednesday and that is about it.  They are large empty monoliths for most of the time.  Find ways to glorify God in them at all times and utilize them.  If you are going to pay the heat, electric and water bill, then use them.

4.  Don’t abuse them.  These buildings are not meant to be warehouses or places of secular commerce.  Remember that everything that is done in these places should glorify God.

Heavenly Father,

You have blessed us with some amazing facilities.  We know (or should know) that buildings are only important in so far as they expand your Kingdom.  Help us to steward what you have given us and move with your Spirit.  I love you Lord.  Amen.

 

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