Dearly Beloved,

TO LET, FORMER CHURCH

“Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel” (Jeremiah 7:12 NIV).

I was prepared for many cultural shocks and surprises as I was leaving African soil for the Western World for the first time last month. I did have, and I am still having, many of such shocks in the less than two months of my sojourn in this so-called developed part of the world. One that baffles me most is the big churches and cathedrals with few or no worshippers on worship days. Most of these few worshippers are old people. The youth are nowhere to be found. I was more surprised one day when I saw an advert placed on a big old church that reads: "To Let: Former Church". I looked at the church and grieved within me. So, what some people are saying that many of the old churches in the western world have become halls for secular purposes is true. I will not be surprised if some of these churches are bought by Muslims and they turn them to mosques.

As I was thinking over this, the situations of Shiloh and later Jerusalem came to my mind. The tabernacle (the Tent of Meeting) with the Ark of Covenant was set up in Shiloh (see Joshua 18:1-10). The town became the religious centre for the people of Israel (see Judges 21:1-2, 19; 1 Samuel 1:3). Because of the wickedness of the priests of Shiloh (and apparently other people of Israel), God abandoned the town and allowed the Philistines to capture the Ark of Covenant and destroy the city (see 1 Samuel 3:11-14; 4:1-22; Psalm 78:60). Jeremiah prophesied about the impending similar destruction to the temple in Jerusalem (see Jeremiah 7). Instead of the people to yield to his warning, they were persecuting him. The temple and the city were destroyed (see 2 Kings 25).

I would not want to be judgmental about the decline in the growth of Christianity in the western world that results to abandonment of church buildings, but it is certain that the Christians there are to be blame. Complacency in their part has made Christianity unpopular, and many churches are dying gradually while some are dead already.

As an individual Christian, are you as fervent in the Lord as when you first became born again? Is complacency not making you to be far from God? Can God still depend on you? Beware that you do not become an abandoned instrument in the hands of God.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Point: Pray that you will not become an abandoned instrument but that you will continue to be relevant in the things of the Lord.

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