Pillars of the Church

David Bast

Read: Revelation 3:12-13

I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. (v. 12)

The phrase “pillars of the church” calls up faces and voices out of my past—from the church I grew up in, from the churches I have served. It’s how we describe those members on whom every church depends—faithful Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, elders and deacons, servants of every kind; the people who are always there, first to volunteer, supportive of leaders, constant in prayer. Wonderful folks, those pillars. But that’s not what Jesus means here.

His promises here are for everyone in the church; everybody gets to be a pillar, not just the busy few. This is about privilege, not responsibility. Jesus is offering a reward, not another job to do. The promises relate to the time when there will no longer be a need for workers in the church because the church’s work will be finished and its joys just beginning. We usually think of pillars as support structures, but the pillars of the temple were decorative; they were an adornment, made for glory. They even had names: Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21).

Jesus promises to write a name on us too, his own name, and his Father’s name, and the name of the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem. That is where we will all belong, where we will each have a place prepared for us, forever. “Who is there that would not yearn for that City, out of which no friend departs, and into which no enemy enters?” (Augustine). —David Bast

As you pray, pray for the city of God—the whole church.