On Friday my e-mail devotional looked at Psalm 127:
Unless the LORD builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
And the region in which I reside once again burst into conflagration, thousands fleeing fires that are destroying entire towns. Of course, there are massive policy discussions about how wildfire have become so large and prominent in California. As my wife and I drove to a dinner party last night, through the dense and smelly smoke, I explained to her that California is a desert, that the only reason it holds the people it does is man’s constructive capabilities and that in its failure to maintain and expand that constructive effort (for the sake of “preservation”) such natural destruction was inevitable. The labor of so many for so many years does indeed appear to be in vain. Does that mean God is not in California?
Well, God is where Christians are and I know lots of Christians in California. In fact God in omnipresent, so I am pretty sure God has not abandoned California. But I also know we tend to ignore Him quite a bit here in California and ignoring God comes at a cost. You see, that which is built has to be maintained and God has to be involved in the maintenance just as much as He is involved in the construction.
And that, frankly, has me thinking about the faddish in churches. There is whole Christian culture built around chasing the faddish and fashionable for the sake of attracting converts. So much construction, so little maintenance.
God is eternal and we are created in His image. I wonder then if we are not meant to be less faddish? That rather than chasing fashion, the church is meant to be the solid point around which everything changes, or does not change. The author of Hebrews wrote:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
And in truly prophetic fashion, Malachi said on God’s behalf:
“For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
Indeed, God’s unchanging nature is the foundation on which our preservation stands.
Does this mean there is no progress? Oh, to the contrary, there is to be much progress, but we must be careful that our progress is towards God and not away from Him. This is true for the church, and for the culture and for the government.
This Sunday morning I intend to evaluate my progress and ask God for the strength and wisdom to correct it as necessary – to make sure it is towards Him. I cannot help but think it would be wise for all of us to do so.