Someone has pointed out that church buildings often typify the church that meets there. If the building is ostentatious, frequently so are the brethren. If the church building is adequate, but plain, this is often true of those who meet there. If the building is well cared for, it generally belongs to an active group and on the other hand, one that is badly neglected is used by an inactive church.
That is at least true of us here. Our building used to be a duplex, so on either side of the auditorium are 2 classrooms and a bathroom--one side being used by the Spanish speaking church and the other being used by the English speaking church. Last week Ed and I hauled off 3 loads of junk from one side, most of which had been there for more than 25 years. The tracts were so old they were yellowed and brittle and much of it was just trash that no one had bothered to throw away.
Would it surprise you to know that this group has done very little more than meet on Sunday morning for many years? It shouldn't! The importance they gave to the church building was much the same as they gave to worshipping God in general. But I think part of the problem is one we all face in areas of our lives--we get accustomed to things the way they are. At first, a former preacher was going to send back for many of these things, but time passed and he didn't. By that time we were used to the clutter, mess, etc. And doesn't that happen to all of us? We KNOW the sink in the men's bathroom is rusty and ugly, but it's been that way for so long we don't even see it. But we forget that it positively jumps out at visitors.
Have you looked at the building you worship in lately? Have you honestly asked yourself what visitors see when they come in? Certainly, the emphasis should be on the Word, not the building, but non-Christians don't know that. Often times they're unable to look beyond the obvious neglect to hear the Word of God. "If these people don't even keep up their 'church', how important is God to them?" might be their thought.
Do some people spend too much on a church building? No doubt, but let's not go to the opposite extreme. What do you think?