I wonder if there were some ‘inner fists’ raised in the hearts of the audience when Haggai the prophet chided them in words to this effect:
“Get with the program! Your priorities are completely reversed. You’re wondering what’s wrong in your life – give your head a shake. It’s pretty obvious. You are living for yourself – me, my and mine! God is at the bottom of your pile. You are so wrapped up in your own little world, you can’t see the big picture. You’ve paneled not just the walls of your house but you’ve also extravagantly paneled your ceilings as if you were princes in a palace. Meanwhile, what’s important to God you’ve left in shambles.”
I heard a missionary lambaste the audience for pathetic apathy and blatant materialism. He noted that despite all our good talk, there was very little action. Immediately I became defensive and my inner fist was tightly clenched. “He’s not going to get anywhere talking to us like that! If he’s looking for support, this is one way sure to NOT get it!” But then I had to confess my sin. I needed to hear that message. And the Jews needed to hear Haggai’s message.
The Jews had been saying all along: “The time is not right to rebuild the Lord’s house. The timing is just off. We need to wait.” Haggai 1:2. Meanwhile, they used their energy, money and time to renovate and refurbish their own houses. God sent Haggai along to say to them: “You have built luxurious homes for yourselves but My House lies in ruins. Take a good long hard look at your lives – and how you are wasting it. What really do you have to show for all your hard work? What does it all amount to? Consider your ways.”
Everything in my life that’s not a priority for the Lord will, in the final analysis, all be blown away as chaff. The years of our lives when we feverishly pursued our own goals, climbed our own ladders, made our own plans and executed them – everything in our lives that did not have the Lord Himself as the object will be burned up.
I may win top honours, earn first place, get offered plum jobs, hear the applause of friends and colleagues and have plaques to hang on my walls – but when I stand before Christ and He asks me: “What in your life was done out of love for Me,” then all those things will evaporate and never be seen again. A bunch of nothings for eternity.
It’s easy to be a big fish in earth’s little puddle but how small it will all look when it’s placed in eternity’s vast ocean.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
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