A Fix-the-Church Party

By Linda Porter Carlyle

MacKenzie Isabelle Evans leaned close to Joseph. “I’m a history buff!” she whispered in his ear.

“What?” Joseph whispered back.

“A history buff. I’m a history buff,” Mac repeated. “I love to learn about people who lived a long time ago—you know, what they did, and what they wore, and how they lived, and all about them.”

Pastor Chuck cleared his throat. “Mac, maybe you would like to share what you’re telling Joseph with the whole class,” he suggested.

“OK!” Mac agreed, sitting up straight. “I just found out I’m a history buff. That means I like to learn about people who lived a long time ago. I don’t mean I just found out that I like learning about that—I mean I just found out last night that there’s a special name for it. If you like to learn about people in history, you’re a history buff! I just like people, I guess,” she added. “Live people and dead people!”

The class laughed.

Mac stopped talking. Her idea hadn’t come out exactly like she’d wanted it to. But that was the way it so often was with words.

Pastor Chuck smiled. “I’m glad you like people, Mac,” he said. “It’s a very good quality. Jesus liked people, too, when He was here on earth. He even liked people other people thought He shouldn’t like.

“If you’re a history buff,” he went on, “you must really enjoy our Bible lessons then because they are all about people. People and God.”

“I do!” Mac nodded vigorously. “Last night my dad read to me all about Jerusalem, the Temple, and what it looked like when Jesus was there. My dad said you can go to Jerusalem today, but you can’t see the Temple. It got completely destroyed. I would like to do that. I would like to go to Jerusalem and walk around on the very same ground that Jesus walked on. Wouldn’t that be awesome?”

“You’re right,” Pastor Chuck agreed. “That would be awesome. Some of my friends have gone to Israel, and they came back really excited. The Bible stories are so much more real to them now. Do you want to tell us something that you learned about the Temple, Mac?”

“Sure!” Mac answered. “Did you know the main gate into the Temple was made of brass, and it was so big and heavy that it took 20 men to open it and close it?”

“Wow!” Trevor said.

“I didn’t know the Temple was so big and so beautiful,” Mac went on. “When the Israelites went and dug stones out of the mountains to use for building it, they weren’t little stones like bricks. They were huge stones. Some of them were over 20 feet long.”

“How long is 20 feet?” Joseph asked.

“That’s a good question,” Pastor Chuck said. “There’s a yardstick in the cupboard. Go get it, and we’ll measure how long our room is.”

Joseph hurried to the cupboard. He found the yardstick standing in the corner. He put the end of it against a wall and laid it flat on the floor.

“I’ll mark how far it reaches, and then you can move it along to where my finger is,” Trevor volunteered.

The class supervised while Joseph and Trevor measured the length of the room. They kept track of the number of feet as the yardstick moved along. “Twenty-two feet!” Trevor shouted. “Do you mean the stones in the Temple were longer than our room? One stone?”

“That’s amazing, isn’t it?” Pastor Chuck said. “I think the Temple was probably the most beautiful building ever built. Remember that the whole inside was completely covered with gold—even the floor and the ceiling!”

“Our church doesn’t look like that!” Hannah said.

Pastor Chuck laughed. “No, our church doesn’t look anything like that,” he agreed. “But we do try to keep our church in good shape and looking well cared for. When people see our church, we want them to know that it is God’s house. God’s house should never look worse than the houses we live in.

“Did you guys know that we’re going to have a church work day next week?” he went on. “All the wood in the sanctuary needs to be polished. The walls in the foyer need to be painted and so do the walls in the bathrooms. You all are old enough to help do those things. Do you think you would like to?”

“Yeah!” the class agreed.

Mac waved her hand wildly in the air. “I’ve got a great idea!” she shouted.

Pastor Chuck looked at her. His eyes twinkled. “You look as if you are about to burst!” he said. “Tell us.”

“At my Cousin Mary’s church, the youth group had a work party. They went to church for vege-burgers one night, and then they worked on a bathroom. They painted it—they got to pick out the colors and everything, and they put a fancy wallpaper border in it. And they hung up new mirrors. And they did other stuff I don’t remember. And they stayed up really, really late until they were all done, and then they got to sleep in the Fireside Room in their sleeping bags and make pancakes the next morning! Well, the girls slept in the Fireside Room. I don’t know where the boys slept. Could we do that? Could we?”

“I never slept in a church before,” Trevor said.

“I never get to stay up late at home,” Joseph put in. He grinned. “I could probably come to a work party though. Maybe I could even stay up all night!”

“You said caring for God’s house is part of worshipping Him,” Mac pointed out. “It would be like worshipping God all night!”

Pastor Chuck laughed. “How many of you would be interested in having a work party like that?”

“And having vege-burgers and pancakes and staying up all night?” Trevor asked, making sure the details were clear.

Pastor Chuck nodded.

Everyone’s hand went up. Mac held up both of hers.

“It’s a good idea. I’ll think about it,” Pastor Chuck promised. “And I’ll talk it over with your parents. Now let’s get back to our lesson before our class time is over. Who can find 1 Kings, chapter 5 first?”

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