Noting the length of time it took Solomon to build a house for God, one is reminded that the work of missions is time-consuming. It takes time to build relationships; it takes time to build trust and acceptance; and it takes time to build the spiritual temple of God, the church. A study of missionary endeavors, both past and present, often reveals the fact that the work of the Lord requires endurance. Not every endeavor is the same, but the servant of the Lord, as well as his supporters back home, needs to realize that building for the Lord takes effort and time.
The missionary’s effort must also be dedicated to the Lord. Apart from His blessing, all labor is vain. It was said of the early missionaries of the church that they went out “for his name’s sake” (III John 1:7). What is done must be done for the Lord; therefore, it is only right and proper to dedicate one’s labor to Him. God was gracious to dwell in a material building and be with His people then; so it is now when believers gather to worship. As the church meets, whether in a cathedral, in a storefront mission, or under jungle foliage, the Lord is pleased to meet His people in worship.
The material Solomon used for the temple came from various places. The same holds true for God’s church. Missionaries are sent into all the world to collect material for the spiritual temple of God. As people come to faith, God fits them into the temple as living stones to offer worship acceptable to Him. We also would do well to remember that the body of a believer also becomes the temple of God. He puts His name upon the temple, hallows it with His presence, and is pleased to dwell with all who have faith.