When NASA sent men to the moon it spent 20-25 billion dollars on the Apollo missions. Thousands of scientists and engineers poured their entire intellects into building a very expensive machine that was ultimately totally destroyed in the using.
There was no sorrow in the destruction of all their inventions though because that was a part of the plan. The Saturn V rocket contained over 3 million parts that all served one purpose, to get three men to the moon and back safely. When the rocket left the ground the launch pad was incinerated. Each stage of the rocket was eventually lost to either burning up in our atmosphere or remaining in orbit as the rest of the rocket fought against the earth’s gravity to lift those three men to the heavens.
One part of the capsule landed on the moon, but to conserve weight it left its landing gear on the moon when it headed back to earth. That very capsule was jettisoned to also burn up after the three astronauts readied the last surviving part of the Saturn V, a small capsule, for reentry into the earth’s atmosphere.
After billions of dollars, thousands of man-hours and the incineration of the great majority of the 3-million part spacecraft NASA had successfully sent three men to the moon – only two of the crew actually landed – and safely back with the addition of some very valuable moon rocks. The vehicle was expendable, but the people were not. There was no grief for the lost rocket but only jubilation in achieving a monumental goal.
The church is a lot like NASA. One of its missions is to send people to heaven, and it is a forgone theological conclusion that no earthly device, organization, building, fame of man, etc. will make it to heaven, only people who have trusted in Jesus for salvation.
The church should have no grief in the expenditure of massive resources to get people to heaven, but it should have considerable grief when its mission to reach the nations is not accomplished. Unfortunately, some of the church could be likened to a NASA that built all those rockets only to never fly them. They would go directly to museums. Or like a NASA that used all those rockets as very expensive fireworks. However, the taxpayers would never stand for such a thing, and neither should the church stand for investing in anything that does not serve the expressed desires and purposes of God, to seek and save that which was lost.
In comparing a healthy church to NASA I would also compare a church with misplaced priorities to science fiction. So called miracles (there are still real miracles!) just become special effects that serve no other purpose other than shock and awe. I had better get back on the main topic before I say too much…
I can’t but help feeling nostalgic for the bygone days of great visionaries like JFK who rallied a nation to go to the moon, and I also miss the days when I was a young believer and there was a mighty call going forth to fulfill the call of God. We can have those days again. We must have those days.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:19-21