My wife and I had the unique privilege of teaching a marriage seminar on the mission field of Nicaragua. We met together with a group of national pastors and enjoyed a precious time of ministry, sweet fellowship and some great Nicaraguan food. I had been able to visit one of the pastors and see his small church situated above a business. It was a simple building with a corrugated tin roof that rattled loudly when the wind blew. Later when Pastor Jose Luis and I were sitting around a table I showed him a picture of the church I pastor in the States. As he looked at the picture of the brick building surrounded by a huge parking lot and carefully landscaped shrubs, he said to me in Spanish: “beautiful church”. I immediately felt guilty. What business did I have of possibly discouraging this wonderful brother by showing him my comparatively wealthy church building? Then I thought about those two words he said, “beautiful church”.
What really makes a “beautiful church”? Is it the esthetical design of the facilities? Is it the color scheme, or the lighting? Does it have anything to do with comfortable pews, an excellent sound system or visual technology? I believe the real beauty of a church does not have anything to do with the building at all. A beautiful church is one where the beauty of Christ can be seen in the lives of God’s people. When the Lord Jesus does a work of grace in a person’s heart they are transformed. Eph. 5:27 describes the work that Christ is doing in us His church: “That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot of wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”. A beautiful church is one where those transformed believers are focused on worshipping Christ, lifting Him up and praising His name.
Our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua reminded me that you don’t really need much to have a truly beautiful church. All we need is the beauty of Jesus in our hearts and the beauty of worship in our assembly.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation