The sign was all that was left

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Some years ago I drove by a small shopping center in a Midwestern city. This particular shopping center had a display of signs, everything from a bookstore to a pet shop to—my favorite—a hobby shop! I’ve been interested in model trains and planes for many years, and thought this would be a good place to spend some time, and dream, and maybe drop a little cash if there was something in my price range!

Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find a sign of that hobby shop anywhere! This shopping center did have a few empty locations but no indication as to what had used to be there. I drove around the main building twice but still never found any sign (dare I say, “track”??) of that hobby shop—anywhere!

Puzzled, I went into the antique shop just to browse (and to cool down, as it was a very hot day). I asked one of the clerks if the hobby shop was still in business, and if so where. The clerk laughed a little, and said, “It closed up about two or three years ago. I guess they never got around to takin’ down that sign.”

Sadly, there are a number of churches and other places of “worship” where the “sign” is still up but the “store” closed down, maybe years ago. In some places, the building remains, but is no longer used as a church. I’ve seen a few like that: closed, empty, or worse, re-worked into a business (one former church is a real estate agent’s office!) or even an apartment complex. Other buildings were torn down, with nothing but perhaps a parking lot to mark the place where a church once stood.

Still others are functioning, more or less, but the power of God has been missing for a long time. Yes, the sign’s still there, but the business was gone a long time ago.

How many churches are in that condition today?

The Lord Jesus Christ warned the church in Ephesus, “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent (Revelation 2:5, NASB).”

The “signs” of Ephesus remain, but the church, once powerful there, has been gone for many years.

What would Jesus think, when He sees your church sign?

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