Wednesday, May 11, 2022

           Haggai was an Old Testament prophet.  His prophecy spans only two chapters and can be read in its entirety in probably five to ten minutes.  He is one of the Bible’s minor prophets.  Not minor because his message is insignificant or unimportant, but minor because of brevity.  He accused the people of Israel of missing important things because of their busyness with trivial things.  His candor was clear.  He wrote, “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?’” (Haggai 1:3-4).  The people were caught up with fixing and improving their houses while ignoring the state and condition of the House of the Lord.  He said a bit later in 1:9 that the His House remained in ruin because the people were too busy with their own homes. 
            Haggai’s message has timeliness and relevance for today.  We can easily get caught up with paneling our homes while we neglect, ignore or dismiss more pressing matters that the Lord may have for us to do.  Time can easily get away from us and we can find that it has been a long while since we last read the Bible, prayed or worshipped.  We can spend our money on short-term things while failing to honor God with His rightful tithe.  We can pursue pleasure at the expense of service.  We can substitute a host of things for worship.  I suppose in some ways we are all guilty of paneling our houses while we ignore the condition of our faith and the spiritual house we are to build with our lives.
            While a minor prophet, Haggai gives us a major warning.  Pay attention to the kind of faith, life and spiritual house you are building.  Seek the Lord, walk with the Lord, trust the Lord.  We are to look to the Lord to produce spiritual fruit in us like we read about in Galatians 5:22-23.  Maybe today God has a mission for you—something uniquely suited for you to do.  Perhaps there is a person in your life who could use some kind of encouragement or who needs a church home.  Maybe there is someone who could use some of your time.  A timely text or email could be just the thing that turns around someone’s day.  If you have a sense that God wants you to pray for someone or something, do so with gladness and urgency.  Do not put off till later what God has for you to do today or this moment.  Our prayers are the raw material that God uses to fashion answers and solutions to for those who petition Him.   
            Time passes quickly.  And distractions come at us just as quickly.  We can easily find ourselves paneling our houses while neglecting this spiritual house that God is calling us to occupy and build.  One of the missionaries I had a chance to serve with in Poland referenced this passage from Haggai as a way of saying that Polish Christians had to react quickly when many Ukrainian refugees came to their community and churches.  God had given them an immediate occasion to serve and to make a difference.  In a sense, they had to turn away from paneling their houses to engage in the work God had given them.  Think of where you are today.  What does God have for you to do?  Where could God use your time, talents and willingness?  Is there a need that cries for attention that stands before you?  Ask God and trust Him to use you!  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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