1 Samuel 16:7, “The LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. People were filling the church to its full capacity! As they entered, each was given a bulletin filled with announcements, topic of today’s sermon, what songs they would sing and who to pray for. At the end of the line stood an older man. His clothes were filthy and you could tell that he had not bathed in days. His face was covered with whiskers, for he had not shaved for a very long time. When he reached the usher, he removed his tattered old brown hat in respect. His hair was long, dirty, and a tangled mess. He had no shoes on his feet, and wore only soiled black socks to cover the sores upon his feet. The Usher looked at him turning up his nose at the old man and said, “Uh, I’m sorry sir, but I’m afraid we can’t let you in. You will distract the congregation and we don’t allow anyone to disrupt our service. I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.”
The old man looked down at himself and with a puzzled look on his face; he placed his old brown hat back upon his head and turned to leave. He was sad as he loved to hear the choir sing praises to the Lord. He loved to watch the little children get up in front of the church to sing their little songs. He carried in his pocket a small worn out Bible and loved to see if the minister preached a passage from the Bible that he had underlined. But he was respectful, and didn’t want to cause any commotion, so he hung down his head and walked back down the steps of the big brick church. He sat down on the brick wall near the edge of the church yard and strained to listen through closed doors and windows to the singing going on in the church. Oh, how he wished he could be inside with all the others.
A few minutes had passed by when all of a sudden, a younger man came up behind him and sat down near him. He asked the old man what he was doing. He answered, “I was going to go to church today, but they thought I was too filthy, my clothes to old and worn, and they were afraid I would disrupt their service. Sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. My name is George.” The two men shook hands, and George couldn’t help but notice that this man had long hair like his. He wore a piece of cloth draped over his body tied with a royal purple sash. He had sandals on his feet, now covered with dust and dirt. The stranger touched George’s shoulder, and said: “George, don’t feel bad because they won’t let you in. My name is Jesus, and I’ve been trying to get into this same church for many years — they won’t let me in either.”
My friend this is just a little reminder that the church isn’t a place for only rich and well-known people. It’s a place for all, especially the less fortunate ones and serves as a hospital for the wounded souls of so many individuals today. May God’s love be seen and always be felt through the church you attend. I have often thought what the apostle Paul would say if he were to visit our churches today or attend the one mentioned above.
What a beehive of activity! Committees, programs, entertainment without end. But worship is often downplayed, services are cut back, and prayer meetings are eliminated. Some call these improvements, but are they really changes for the better.
There’s a story about a woman who became seriously ill and was taken to the hospital. In the evening her husband asked how she was doing, and he was told that she was improving. For several days her doctor gave the same report. Then one day she unexpectedly died. When the man saw the doctor, he asked, “Well, what did she die of improvements?”
Many of our church’s today have died of so called “improvements” also. They hire ministers with unbiblical ideas; prayer meeting is changed into a literary debating society, and finally, the minister stops praying from the pulpit. My beloved, those churches are now dead! We should put a tombstone in front of them with these words, “Died of Improvements.” Don’t get me wrong, there’s always room for the right kind of improvements in our churches. However, let’s make absolutely sure they are guided by the life-changing principles found in God’s Eternal Word, not the deadening philosophies of this world, which satan controls.
God put the church in the world; satan tries to put the world in the church.