Our verse for today comes from Exodus 19:18, ” Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. “
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Few of us would argue with that saying. In fact, when we’re driving down the road and see a bunch of smoke, we generally do our best to look that way and crane our necks to see what is burning. The smoke gets our attention, but the fire fascinates us. That is why it’s so easy to sit by a fireplace or a campfire and stare at it for hours. But as sayings go, how would we finish this one, ” Where there’s church, there’s … ” ? If you were to mention church to someone, what image would come to their mind? If you were describing the unique odor of the smoke, or the blackness or thickness of it, or how far it reached, then the listener would immediately visualize the smoke of a cigar, or perhaps the smoke of a rubber fire, or the distant smoke of a forest fire miles away. But when we mention church, what comes to the listener’s mind? A building, probably. People dressed up and going there on Sunday mornings, certainly. Maybe an uncomfortable place for a non- regular to visit. If we mention Christian, or follower of Jesus, does that merely change the focus for the hearer from the building to the hypocrites that meet there?
My wife and I have this friendly battle about getting the kids ready for church Sunday mornings. She doesn’t want them to look like we don’t take care of them, even if it makes us late. So I ask her how is that different from not taking care of them, but just making it look like we do on Sundays? Are we taking care of them? We are trying, so does it matter whether it always looks like that when we gather with our family of believers? We are a church. The Lord has descended on us in fire. And so, there should be smoke billowing up, pouring out of every crack and crevice. We shouldn’t just have a building that looks like a church. Any child abuser can dress up a kid and take him to church. We must have the real substance of the Lord’s working in our lives, and then let that manifest itself in ways that reflect Him. Because the Lord descended on it in fire, Mount Sinai was covered with smoke. What are you covered with?
As we seek Him today, ask God what He sees when we mention church to Him. Look within your heart and examine your part in presenting the fire of the Lord to this lost world.
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