Vol.XV No.II Pg.8
April 1978

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

We are in Texarkana, Texas for a meeting with the Belt Road church, in their new church building. The structure is brick, well designed, with a coordinated color scheme that pleases the eye but is not "showy" nor detracting from its worshipful purpose. And I remember other meeting places."

A fellow-student from Freed-Hardeman College accompanied me to a place where brethren met in an old school. Chicken bones littered the floor, and "jam-biscuits" were stuck on the wall. Mud had been packed high about the door, and tracked throughout. Lamp chimneys were black, and wicks untrimmed yet brethren whose homes were clean and neat seemed not to see these conditions. We "worshiped" (the five items") and went home to sumptuous dinners spread on white linen.

That afternoon Vernon Morris and I returned to the meeting place with rags and broom. We climbed in through an unlocked window and went to work. Caked mud had to be broken with a poker, and dirt hauled out in a bucket, but we got it done. We sprinkled and swept, sprinkled and swept, until we wore down the broom; and then we dusted, washed lamp chimneys, cleaned the chalkboards, until things sparkled. We had to hurry home to bathe and dress for evening services, but it was worth all efforts to see eyes and mouths pop open wide as each member arrived that night. I had written all across the chalkboard: "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14:40). We did not chide nor scold. We preached and sang; and got 50 cents and two safety razors each for our efforts. I still have my razors, but had to spend the 50 cents for hack fare to and from the place. I never returned to that building, but Vernon did, and afterwards told me the seats had been varnished, new lights installed, and crisp curtains hung before sparkling windows.

Yes, some brethren build showy "temples," with money that should go into preaching the gospel. Some seek to attract the public with pride-filling opulence. "We could meet under a tree!" All true. But those who meet under a tree should trim it up, chop out the weeds, and remove the trash so often found there. The character of the people who "meet under a tree" or in their own building is usually seen in the conditions they tolerate. AND, their pride, crass materialism and worldliness may be seen in what they demand. Think it over brethren!!