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In the Yorktown Visitors Center you can see the bicentennial proclamation celebrating the 200th anniversary of Washington's victory over the British general Cornwallis. Under the glass with that proclamation is the pen Ronald Reagan used to sign the document back in 1981.


Suppose I were to approach the center's director and ask if I could use the pen to make out a grocery list. He would probably look at me with a combination of amazement and disdain, saying that the pen was a valuable museum piece not to be used in a frivolous way. Suppose then, I say something like, "Okay, let me buy the pen. How much?" I guess he'd say something like, "Look, it's not for sale. That's the pen President Reagan used to sign a very important document. It's very valuable and it can't be replaced." Then, he might call the security guard over to show me to my car.


Now this makes sense to us when it comes to museum pieces, but how often do we use the church for our own ends? Some people participate in church to make business contacts. I know of a building contractor who transferred his membership to another church in hopes of meeting more people interested in building a nice house. Others see the church as a tool to gain some respectability in the community. Some single adults attend church in the hopes that they will meet someone to date or marry. None of these situations are bad in themselves, but that is not the purpose of the church!

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