Food for Friday

And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money, sitting. John 2:14

Another employee and I were busy unloading a shipment of steelware products in a hardware warehouse when a man in a blue suit approached my companion. He led him over to a nearby desk, opened his briefcase, and began talking to him. I didn’t get the drift of their conversation, other than to grasp that the man in the suit was trying to sell something. I also understood that the burden of unloading the shipment was left entirely to me, which was difficult, because some of the items were large and bulky, requiring more than one pair of hands. Suddenly, I heard a roar, and the warehouse foreman charged into the shipping area. Angrily, he ordered the salesman out of the building, telling him he had no business being there. ‘And don’t come back!’ The foreman then informed my companion that he was not to allow any more salesmen onto the floor, because they interrupted our work and interfered with the business. He must have felt as the Lord Jesus did to find livestock and money clerks in the temple.

The problem was these cattle merchants and money traders were conducting crass business in the House of God. They might well have had a valid reason to be outside nearby, but there was no role for them within the temple itself. Their presence was an insult to the One Whose house it was. Today, there is no physical temple to be kept cleared of everything inappropriate. But there is a House of God, and it still needs to be kept clear of everything that is not appropriate. The Lord Jesus has promised to dwell in the place where His saints are gathered to His name. His Assembly is holy, and we need to respect that holiness. We need to be careful that, when we meet, we do not bring along those things that don’t belong, because they would interfere with the proper functioning of the Assembly. To use a crude example, it would be inappropriate for a brother who works in sales to make a plug for his product during a Bible reading.

But we need to remember that God’s Assembly is not the gathering of the saints in a building. We are an Assembly all the time, even when at home, at work, or at play. And we need to keep the cattle vendors and money changers out of our lives. Anything that interferes with our functioning as part of God’s Assembly should go. That means, anything that keeps us from attending meetings of the Assembly, anything that prevents us from preparing for participating in Assembly meetings, anything that would discredit the Assembly or any of its members, all are cattle vendors and money changers, and are inappropriate.

Reverence for the Assembly as the Father’s House will help us to keep the wrong things out of it. – Jim MacIntosh

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