At the end of Mark 12, Jesus was in the temple with His followers doing a little people watching. He noticed a little widow who, like others that day, came by to put an offering into the treasury. But unlike the rich people who gave out of their abundance, she gave all that she had. Jesus praised that woman for her simple act of wholehearted surrender to God. Nothing flashy, nothing big. Just profound.
But as you progress into chapter 13, Jesus and His followers are leaving the temple, and someone says to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” They didn’t get it. Jesus had just praised the widow for a simple act of love for God that had been overlooked by everyone but Him. But even then His followers were still enamored with the big, the splendid, the magnificent.
We don’t get it either.
Like those followers that day in the temple, we are caught up in building something for God that He never asked for. We think our big buildings and lavish sanctuaries bring Him glory. We think our big-budget ministries and high-profile leaders impress Him.
Yet Jesus is not impressed today any more than He was that day in the temple. You see, we serve a God who is more attracted to the last person in line than the first. We follow a Savior that is more interested in the weak and downtrodden than the rich and powerful. He’s not easily impressed, unless it’s by simple acts of quiet obedience, by those giving all they have.
Yet we persist. “See what we’ve built for you?” And His answer to us today is the same as it was that day so long ago in the temple, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another. They shall all be thrown down.”
So if it’s alright with you, I’ll follow Jesus outside the fancy buildings and impressive sanctuaries. They can’t hold His glory anyway. I’ll follow Him to the quiet, out of the way places where those who serve Him do so in simplicity and sincerity. I’ll follow Him to the back corners and dirty streets where the fragrance of His love invades the darkness and His glory shines.
Please go with me. We don’t want to be in the building when it collapses.