"Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, 'You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.'” (Matthew 24:2 ESV)
The temple stood as a physical reminder of God’s presence and provision for His people. The disciples understandably were amazed and enthralled with its magnificence. Jesus, on the other hand, pointed to the temple’s temporary nature—one day it would be no more, one day it would be reduced to dust. This building that testified to God’s presence would eventually be silent. Yet God’s work and presence would continue in a new way.
It's all too easy, like the disciples, to give our time and attention to what is seen and miss out on the greater truths that are present. Think about it—the disciples were trying to impress on Jesus, who created the universe and holds every atom in their human frame in its proper place, that the temple was really awesome. No doubt the building was beautiful, but they missed glorying in the greater truth that stood before them. They saw the creation and missed seeing their Creator.
This can be tempting in counseling as well. It's all too easy to focus on what is seen and forget to consider what God is up to. In so doing, we can find ourselves settling for goals that are as transitory as the temple. No doubt our clients need help locating the right job, developing good communication skills, and learning to say no to their unhealthy habits. But each of these goals, if accomplished apart from seeing the beauty and wonder of God’s design and work, will end up being temporary monuments of earthbound successes.
So, may we help our clients see and savor their Savior. May we help them locate their hope where moth and rust do not destroy. May we help them see the transitory nature of this life and may that lead them to long for when all things will be made new. And until that day, may we help them cling to the counsel God has graciously given. As Jesus reminds us, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35 ESV).