The Value of Steeples

PRINCIPLE: “When everything is looking down, look up!”
My wife and I had the privilege of attending a pastor’s retreat at a lovely place called the Normandy Inn. The buildings, not surprisingly, are all designed to look like Normandy. Therefore many of the buildings had steeples. Our host told us that the steeples were intended to draw our eyes upward to the heavens; they were an invitation to look up to God. That was a new and inspiring insight for me. No matter the weather, no matter the time of day, look up. “When everything is looking down, look up!”
I began to think of numerous passages in the Bible which give us the same invitation. Numbers 21 records the story God’s response to the grumbling Israelites. God sent venomous snakes; all who were but by them died. So they people cried out to God to save them. The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.” (21:8-9) “When everything is looking down, look up!” Jesus gave this even deeper meaning: In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.” (Jn. 3:14-15 MSG) “When everything is looking down, look up!”
The Psalmist, in Ps. 121:1, declares, “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” “When everything is looking down, look up!”
In the 40thchapter of Isaiah God is proclaiming his greatness to the Israelites to turn them from idols back to Him. “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the
Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God,the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the
Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint.” (25-31, underlining mine).“When everything is looking down, look up!”
Jesus, in Luke 21, is teaching about the signs of the end of the age. He drives home His application when He says (28), “When these things begin to take place,stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”“When everything is looking down, look up!”
Notice how all the looking up draws us to Jesus. And looking to Jesus leads to life – eternal life. “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”(Jn. 6:40) The message of Scripture, from beginning to end, is “Look up and live.” I’ve begun to thank God for steeples. The next time you see one, I’ll just bet you look up! And in looking up you’ll be reminded of Jesus – and you’ll experience new life.
Yet the really great news is that even if there is no steeple in sight, you can still look up. “When everything is looking down, look up!” And live!

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