One evening I was standing in church. The band was on the stage singing, the church was full, the minister was waiting for his turn.
Suddenly during one of the songs God put an image in my mind. I saw, in my minds eye, an empty church. Nobody was there except the pastor and one of the musicians. I was there, but not in reality.
I saw the pews empty. Not a person in sight. The minister got up to preach, and he preached to the empty pews. The musician played and only the pastor and the musician could be heard singing.
At the end the musician said to the pastor "why do we still do this every Sunday, nobody hears us?" The minister replied "God hears us. He will bring the people when they are ready."
God then placed an image in my mind of an old stone church, in a medieval setting. A monk was standing at the door while another man was ringing a church bell. The church was also empty. The man said "I don't think anyone is coming." The monk then said "Never mind, keep ringing that bell, it will remind the villagers there is hope."
The final set of images God placed in my mind was of the church I was in again. I could see everyone standing there singing. But they felt like empty shells, except for a select few, I sensed about 20 that were more than shells, their spirits in worship. I didn't hear a voice, it was just a feeling, a very strong feeling...
The feeling that the people there were not present in spirit, that they were going to leave as time progressed. That only a few would remain. Then the feeling that the few who are still faithful would feel that all hope is lost at rebuilding.
Finally there was the feeling that all God requires is that we keep doing our part and He will keep on doing his. A feeling of "I won't drop the batten, I will remain faithful." Because my God will bring the people, he will keep HIS church going even in the times of darkness.
I am sharing this because I believe that God intends someone else to read it. I don't know who that person is, or why.
Maybe you are the shell, the one who is in church, but not present in church.
- Seek to build a stronger relationship with God, or else one day you will be too far gone.
Maybe you are the pastor who is preaching to the empty church.
Maybe you are the musician who doesn't get why nobody is worshipping and is wondering what the point of continuing is.
Maybe you are the bell ringer... or in a modern context... the one praying, visiting, providing meals or doing another service for God and you feel like nobody is benefiting from all your energy spent.
- draw close to God. Always give him the glory. Pray and keep on keeping on. It isn't about the number of souls you knowingly reach, it is about the number of souls God reaches through you without you even realizing it. Give God your best, all eyes on him and let God do the rest.