October 5 – Today’s Readings – Haggai 1-2 and Psalms 95
Haggai is a very short book with a very strong message – “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?’ Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.’ This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,’ says the LORD. ‘You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” (Haggai 1:2-9)
A short paraphrase of this passage might read, “why do you spend so much time and money on your own plans but neglect God’s plans?” It is true – The Book of Haggai is most often used by pastors when they are desperate for an offering or a work bee. This is really not what the book is about however. “Haggai” is all about how our lives are most prosperous when we have proper balance between building “our house” and building “the house of the Lord”. There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting effort into your own affairs. On the contrary – the Bible has plenty to say about hard, diligent work and providing for your own as well as the needs of others. The problems arise when we get ourselves out of balance and neglect God’s affairs – the things of the Kingdom. God’s Church and God’s affairs on earth are our business. How things are done for God depends on us. Are we willing to let God lead? – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:5-10)
Here is a secret. When we give ourselves to Kingdom purposes, God blesses our personal goals as well. This is the same principle that applies to people who learn to give financially. God blesses our pocket books. Don’t believe me? Try it. Go ahead and get involved in the ministry of giving or the ministry of helps or – or – or… Try it for six months – see how God will multiply your money and your time. He will enrich your life.
1. Here’s an assignment for you – In which ways has God called you to build His house, but you have not responded?
2. Do you need to increase your giving or time invested in ministry or prayer so that you can be more in balance with the Book of Haggai?