Have you ever tried to run in a pool or walk through thick mud? It’s like you’re in slow motion. No matter how much effort you put into it, you can’t speed up the process. There have been times in both my personal life and my ministry where I’ve felt like a pool runner or a mud walker.
You know the feeling. You work and work and work to make things happen but everything you do is a dead end or needs to be redone or never gets completed. And it leaves you feeling exhausted and discouraged.
Today, I was reading a passage in Haggai (yes, Haggai) that really spoke to this situation. Let me fill you in on the back-story of this passage.
The Israelites had been in captivity many years but had finally returned to their homeland. During their capture and exile, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. This was Solomon’s beautiful temple – the one covered in gold and jewels. When the people returned, they started to rebuild the temple but experienced some opposition from the foreigners living with them in the land so they stopped and just started doing life.
God wanted to know why they had built themselves fine houses, while His house was in ruins.
“And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses.” Haggai 1:9 NLT
Let me give you the life application part of this story: Ever worked to make your home or family life great by either cleaning, organizing, decorating, buying new fun toys, etc. while your spiritual life or God’s calling on your life is abandoned?
Let me be clear. I’m not saying you should abandon your family for a calling on your life. That is not from God. Your family is a ministry, as well. But. I am saying God comes first! Time spent with Him and cleaning your heart should not take second place to all the “stuff” with which we become consumed. Clean your heart before your house. Sometimes we tend to busy ourselves with things that aren’t really important because we are too afraid to face what God has really asked us to do.
When God blows away all the stuff you are working on, that’s a giant hint to re-evaluate what it is you are doing. In this story, Haggai gave the people the message from God to rebuild the temple.
The Bible says, “When they heard the words of the prophet Haggai, whom the Lord their God had sent, the people feared the Lord.” (v. 12) In other words, they praised or revered God.
Haggai then gave them this message: “I am with you, says the Lord.” (v. 13)
And this is my favorite part.
“So the Lord sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the enthusiasm of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God’s people. They began to work on the house of their God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (v. 14)
I love the words “sparked the enthusiasm.” God got them excited about what He called them to do. Do you remember how He sparked the enthusiasm? Through His message – God’s Word.
What is your calling from God? Are you spinning your wheels trying to do everything else? Perhaps you feel like God is blowing away all you’ve done. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because you aren’t doing what He called you to do.
Go to His Word and let it spark enthusiasm in you today. It has certainly sparked some in me and challenged me to take a closer look at my life. In what areas do I feel frustration? Are those the ones where I’m not being faithful to my calling?
Can I pray with you today?
Lord, thank you for your Word. Thank you for speaking to us through it. God, may your words spark enthusiasm in each of us for the task you’ve set before us. Renew in each of us what it is you’ve called us to do, so we don’t feel like we are walking in mud. Use each of us to bring you glory. Amen.