Be honest: do you have some books on your shelf that you started, but have not finished? Are there half-complete craft projects on the work table in your garage? Did you start a blog with the intention of updating it regularly, but forgot that it exists until this second? Sometimes we start things with great zeal and then lose our enthusiasm. This is similar to Israel’s work on the temple when Haggai was first written. Thankfully, God finishes what He begins.
- In Philippians 1:6, Paul reminds us that God will complete the work He began in each of us.
- In Revelation 2:4-6, God shakes the church at Ephesus to rekindle their waning love for Him.
- In Philippians 3:1-14, Paul throws aside distractions; forsaking them and focusing on God’s call.
- In Matthew 6:33, Jesus’ call to seek God first forces us to refocus on His will.
When we neglect God’s primary call on our lives the way the Israelites neglected their work on and contributions to the temple, by default we then redirect our focus to something less than God’s best. We may not immediately direct our focus to something sinful: that thing that distracts us from what God is calling us to do may be an inherently admirable thing! However, it often serves Satan’s purposes equally well that we do any benign thing other than what God is primarily calling us to do. The Israelites were building nice paneled houses for themselves and that is not an inherently evil thing to do. However, God’s house was sitting in ruins at the time, so paneling their houses should have been much farther down their priority list.
Weigh this convicting truth against your own heart. Look over your calendar for the day. Does the way you allocate your time and resources reflect God’s calling on your life, or do your own pleasures and preferences? This is part of what it means to make Jesus Lord in our lives—we surrender our plans for His. Let this teaching invade your heart so that you may teach it to your students with personal conviction and check out this sermon by Francis Chan on Haggai 1.