March 8, 2012

March 8: Selling in church

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By Karla Santiago, admission counselor
SCRIPTURE: John 2:13-22 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.
DEVOTIONAL:

During my elementary and middle school years it was not uncommon for my classmates and me to have to sell wrapping paper, cookies, books or other things to raise money for school. I would often bring the sign-up sheet to church and try to persuade people to buy or donate towards my school, which to me was a good cause.

But I never understood why my parents wouldn’t let me stand up during announcement time to share that I was selling something, or trying to raise money. No, I wasn’t allowed to do that. My parents would instead help me by taking me to our close family friends and sharing the sign-up sheets with them. Other kids would stand up and invite the whole congregation to support them, but I always wondered why I couldn’t do that as well.

One time I did think about this passage as I was thinking back on those days and was able to recognize the uncomfortable feeling it always gave me. I realized that my parents were also probably thinking about this passage and that’s why they did not want me going around selling in church. Instead, my parents wanted my actions in church to reflect a respect for it as a place of sacred worship, as God’s temple. They wanted me to realize that Jesus is our temple.

As we go to church each Sunday and think about what we are asking people to give to or to sign up for, let’s also think about what God is asking us to give to and sign up for. For every time we ask something of others, let us also give something to God who deserves all of our praise and love.

SCRIPTURE: John 2:13-22 (NRSV)
13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

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Comments (8)

  1. I enjoyed reading this devotional–except for the distracting “for my classmates and I” in the first sentence.

    Leroy Seat March 8, 2012 |
  2. Karla, Thanks for the Lenten reminder about the value of spiritual priorities, sacred spaces, and meaningful family traditions.

    Jim Brenneman, GC President March 8, 2012 |
  3. Karla, I too agree with your parents and words of Jesus. Can we keep worship to God separate from the everyday consumerism that follows us everyday?Yes, I know th moneychangers were probably charging more than they should, but I think it goes deeper than that. I must ask myself each Sunday-WHY am I coming to this place of worship today?

    Betty March 8, 2012 |
  4. Thank you Leroy for bringing that to our attention. It has been fixed.

    Devotions Editor March 8, 2012 |
  5. Oops! Another misuse of “I” and “me!”
    “…my classmates and I to have to sell…”
    Of course, it should be “my classmates and ME to have to sell…!”
    Just doing my job as “grammar police.” LOL
    Joann Unruh

    Joann Unruh March 8, 2012 |
  6. Thanks for the reflection. Since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, how does that figure in to this discussion? I could do without church youth group fund-raising on Sunday morning, as well.

    Gary Olsen-Hasek March 8, 2012 |
  7. @Gary – Regarding your mention of our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit, I think it means that we are to treat our bodies with the same respect that we would any house of worship. Of course, that means everyday things such as eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, etc. But I think it also involves something deeper – the recognition that our bodies are beautiful because they are made by God, and that they are made for the purpose of serving Him. That’s my opinion on it, but I’d like to hear others’ opinions as well.

    Elizabeth S.O. March 9, 2012 |
  8. Great thoughts, Karla. I like how you related your memories of your parent’s wishes to this passage and how we keep the worship place sacred. I want Jesus to help me always bring unmixed and pure worship to him.

    Ruth March 12, 2012 |