by Tim Hall
Which would help a town more: a church or a swimming pool?
Time is running out if you’d like to enter a bid on a church building to call your very own. The building once belonged to a church in Cairo, IL.
At 101 years old, the building is sure to be filled with memories. But whoever places the winning bid on Ebay probably won’t be motivated by sentimental reasons.
Geoffrey King currently owns the property, and has spent a year getting it ready for sale. To further entice someone to plunk down the $50,000 he’s hoping to get, King promises that half of the proceeds will be donated to the community for a swimming pool.
“I think every kid should know how to swim and it’s a big benefit for the community by teaching responsibility,” King said in an interview with TV station KFVS.
Anthony Davis, a resident of Cairo, is enthused about the prospects of a pool for his daughter. “I would love to do activities with her here instead of driving somewhere else,” he stated.
While much could be said about the benefits of swimming (in modest attire, of course), this writer is struck with the irony of the situation.
Are there no benefits to be realized by using the building for what it was likely first designed to do — to provide a place where God could be worshiped and his word studied?
We must be careful not to judge without knowing all the facts. Maybe Cairo has plenty of church buildings already. But based on this report alone, it would seem that some see more value in providing a place to swim than in a place to teach children, life’s most important lessons.
If that’s the case, something’s wrong with this picture.
A community doesn’t have to have church buildings, of course. The earliest Christians assembled wherever they could, sometimes outdoors or in synagogues.
In harsher times some went underground. Whether or not they had a building to call their own, they made sure that God and his word were exalted.
Titus was given these instructions by Paul: “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1, NKJV).
Paul then noted lessons that must be taught to the older men and women, as well as to younger women and men. Everyone must be taught God’s truth.
Paul had a similar exhortation for another coworker: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Nothing will benefit a community more than being taught about God and the life he wants us to live.
What I’m waiting to see is a swimming pool for sale on Ebay with a promise that half the proceeds will go toward teaching the Bible to the children of that community.
But I’m not holding my breath.
by Tim Hall