Temple Maintenance

January 25, 2017

“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal…”  I Kings 19:18

The great prophet Elijah reached the zenith of his career when he challenged the people of God to stop being spiritual schizophrenics. He asked them to decide if the Lord was God or if the false Baal was God. When that happened on Mount Carmel, they experienced a great revival and committed themselves to serving the true and living God. (I Kings 18)

The very next day we read these words about Elijah: “But he went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die.” (I Kings 19:12)

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets who ever lived. The drastic changes we see in him between chapters 18 and 19 are due to many things, but one factor is that Elijah neglected what I call Temple Maintenance. When I was out jogging, I told my children if anyone called to tell them their father was doing temple maintenance. As a pastor that sounded like something official around the church. The Apostle Paul tells us that our bodies are the temple of God. (I Corinthians 3:16-17) Therefore, anything we do to maintain our bodies could be described as temple maintenance. If we neglect our temple maintenance, it can have serious consequences for our health and ministry.

Observe in that dramatic victory Elijah won on Mount Carmel all the physical stress and effort he put out that day. He dug a deep ditch around that altar and filled it with water. Have you ever dug a deep ditch? …At the end of that long day, he ran in front of a chariot for 17 miles. Our hero must have been completely exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

The physical dimension of our lives directly affects our mental, emotional and even spiritual perspectives. The word neurotic has been defined as ‘thoughts and feelings for which there is no basis in fact.’ Elijah obviously allowed his physical stresses to affect him mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We know all his blubbering about being the only true servant of the Lord was neurotic when God made him know there were 7,000 faithful servants like him, who had not bowed their knees to Baal.

Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples (p.147-151)

Editor’s Note: My father had bright blue and yellow jogging suits emblazoned with “Temple Maintenance” he wore in the 1970s running up and down the boardwalk in Va. Beach, VA. (My younger brother & I counted his ‘laps’ for him.)  After 30 subsequent years of quadriplegia, we can imagine him now running (or gliding?) around the streets of Heaven with new spiritual legs, engaging in a little celestial Temple Maintenance.


Why Are You Here?

March 12, 2013

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”  (1 Kings 19: 9)

I find great meaning in the questions God asks people in the Bible.  On our journeys of faith our loving God sometimes needs to ask us this question He asked Elijah.  Where we place the emphasis in a statement can sometimes completely change its meaning.  For example, we can say, “A woman, without her, man is lost!”  Or we can say, “A woman without her man is lost!  Using the very same words we can communicate two very different meanings.

God’s question to Elijah might have been “What are you doing here Elijah?” Or the question could simply have been “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

A very godly saint was named Bernard.  A dog was named after him and so we usually think of a dog when we hear his name.  He wrote this question on the inside of the door that led from his tiny cell out into the world: “What are you doing here, Bernard?”

It would be a good idea for us to have that thought engraved on the inside of our door so that every time we leave our home we would be confronted with our vision statement.  It would be a good question to have engraved where we would see it as we leave our churches every time we worship or are inspired by great preaching and teaching.

It would also be a good question to ask and answer as we enter our places of business.  Our workplace is where God has strategically placed us to be and have an impact for Christ in this world.  We should, therefore, begin every day there with this question:

“What are you doing here?”