Building a Temple One Stone at a Time

By Marcy Barthelette

Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and God’s spirit lives in you? I Corinthians 3:16 CEB

I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember. And, before I could read for myself, my mother read to me. When I was very young, Mom and I walked over a mile each way to the library so that there would always be books in our home. We lived in a very small house on a very sparse income, but there were always books at our fingertips  because of Mom’s love of reading.
As I grew older, my love of reading expanded to include creating new reading material of my own. Writing seemed a natural outgrowth of my fascination with the written word. Then life happened and the reading and writing were set aside. But as I matured, a lovely collection of books began to grow in my own home. There were times in my life when I could indulge my love of reading and times when the living of life interfered, but the books were a constant presence.  

It was only in recent years that the possibility of writing once again tickled my imagination, and I really wasn’t sure what to do with this rebirth of an old love until the fall of 2015 when Pastor Sarah asked if I would write a few articles for the new magazine-style newsletter appropriately titled The Gatepost. And so it began, an article here and another there. Before I knew it, other contributors to the newsletter had commitments that limited their time, and I was writing two to four articles every month. I especially liked the Spotlight pieces focused on individual member families. I met so many interesting folks and was able to place faces with countless names I’d heard during my years at Aldersgate.

Then along came COVID and technology took front and center in our worship experiences. I wondered what I could do personally to help keep our family connected, so when Casey Freeland spoke with me about writing an article for a new weekly electronic version of the Gatepost, I dipped my feet in the water. Okay … the truth is I needed the work. I was drowning emotionally as I read and listened to the news swirling around us. For years I had begun my day with devotions by many writers and now I sought tidbits of subject matter among those authors. I listened to online messages and almost always came away with a brief thought that led to a seemingly insignificant incident in my past and the words started to flow. Those little devotions were my lifeline.

As life would have it, our isolation lasted longer than most of us would have imagined and writing a devotion every week has become a very important aspect of my life. Here at home, I had very little personal contact with others, but by reaching out with God’s words, I hoped to be able to offer a small blessing to readers who might be having a tough time or bring a chuckle to someone needing a little joy. And wouldn’t you just know, it has gotten me through some less than stellar experiences and filled my heart with hope.

I guess what I’m trying to express is that we all have skills and can find opportunities to implement them. Each of us is effectively a Temple of God. We demonstrate that in the way in which we treat others, the way we live our lives when no one appears to be looking, the way we care for the resources given so freely to us with only one string attached; He wants us to love Him as He loves us. Of course, it’s wonderful when we can gather with family and friends to worship in like-minded faith, but much can also be gained by sharing our personal “temple” with whoever happens to enter our sphere. You could say it takes a village or perhaps a large temple (a building) built of smaller temples (you and I) scattered throughout the landscape of life.

You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundations of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord … being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22


I recall that day when Casey very casually mentioned that she had posted my devotion on the church blog. I thought, “What church blog, I didn’t know we had one.” So I checked and, sure enough, right there on the internet were the words God shared with me. Anyone in the world can read them if they so desire. I’m in the company of writers who are much more skilled and experienced than I but if any word in those devotions touches the heart of just one person, anywhere, my task is considered well done. It isn’t about who or how many, it’s about the one person, somewhere who really needs to hear the still, small voice of God and then becomes a stone in the greater temple.

And I must close these thoughts with a quote that expresses my love of all living things…

Don’t judge each day by the harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

 Robert Louis Stevenson

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