While we were on a historical tour of Aachen, Germany yesterday, we came to a very large cathedral. It was here that I saw the downfall of Christianity. The building was incredible. Ancient. Beautiful. Massive. Over the top. Just a few words that would describe the cathedral. Before we went inside, Aaron stopped us at the front door to tell us a story behind the constructing of this large “house of God.” It went something like this:
As the founders were working on this building, they began to run very low on money. They didn’t think they would be able to afford to finish the church; so they did something terrible. They made a deal with the devil. The deal was that the devil would give them enough money to finish building the church as long as the first soul that walked through the doors could be his for the taking. The founders agreed, and they were able to finish. Once finished, they thought they could outsmart the devil, so they chased a wolf in the door first, instead of allowing a person to walk in. The devil took the soul of the wolf but was so angry he slammed the door leaving behind a crack in the door and a piece of his thumb in the handle.
That is where Aaron stopped the story, and we all were able to observe the crack in the door and some even felt in the handle for the devil’s thumb. I don’t know where this story originated, but I didn’t see that as the end. As soon as I stepped inside the building, I saw that there was much more that had not been told. The founders only thought they tricked the devil. They thought the only soul the devil got out of the deal was the soul of the wolf. They were badly mistaken. You see, the devil is the tricky one. He knew that any money being spent on that building, would be money not spent on helping someone in need. And believe me, there was A LOT of money that was put into that building.
We do the same thing today. Just look at our church buildings sometime. Some of them cost over a million dollars. A million dollars. Just think about that number for a minute. We spend a million dollars trying to be comfortable. We spend a million dollars trying to look appealing to those in our community. We spend a million dollars in order to have a cooler place for our kids to hang out than the other denomination across the street. Does anyone else see the problem with this?
When we stepped out of the treasury building of the church, there, dressed in rags, was an older gentleman sitting on the ground, begging for money. I wonder how many people were cold. How many people were hungry. How many people were dying because the church couldn’t afford to help them on account of spending so much money on that building. Maybe none. That’s what I would hope. But for some reason, I don’t think that’s the case.
I really pray that we do not let this happen. There are so many who need help in this world, spiritual and physical. Let us not be so focused on aesthetics, either of our buildings or ourselves, that we walk right past someone who is on our doorstep.
Matthew 25:45-“Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to the least of these, you did not do it to me.’”