How the Temple Came to Be

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to dove_1xGod.” (Hebrews 13:16)

There’s a fable that the old rabbis would tell about how the spot was chosen for the Temple of Israel.

Two brothers farmed one tract of land and shared one mill. Each day, the brothers worked the fields together. Each night, they would gather together whatever grain they produced and bring their portion home.

One of the brothers was single. The other was married with many children. The single brother decided that his married brother needed much more grain than he did. So secretly in the middle of the night, he snuck over to his married brother’s storehouse and gave some of his portion to his brother.

The married brother realized that his single brother had no children or anyone who could care for him in his old age, so he decided that he needed to have more in storage for the future. So each night, he secretly deposited some grain into his single brother’s storehouse.

One night, the two men each undertook their secret mission when their paths crossed halfway between the storehouses. When each realized what his brother was doing, they embraced and wept.

As the story goes, God witnessed what happened there and said, “This is a holy place—a place of reconciliation, love, and sacrifice—and this is the place where my presence will dwell.”

The story isn’t historically factual, but I believe it is theologically true. God is present when his people take care of each other and are reconciled to each other. You can make your home a “holy place” by practicing the art of forgiveness and sacrifice.