Haggai is one of the 12 minor prophets of the Old Testament. He prophesied during the time when the Israelites were returning from Babylonian captivity to the promised land of their ancestors.
What the Israelites found when they got home after 50 years of exile was heartbreaking. The great city of Jerusalem was destroyed. But they didn’t let their disappointment stop them. Those were hard years. There was not enough food, clothing or money. But Haggai told the people that even though they were very busy rebuilding their nation, they should also take time to rebuild the temple. He told them that their priorities were out of order.
What the people had done was understandable. They had come home to destruction. They were in survival mode. We can all understand survival mode because we have all experienced it. Getting the kids to school, scouts, sports or music lessons and then home again. Getting them fed and homework done. Getting yourself to work and home again. Laundry, paying bills, taking care of parents and pets, running to doctor and dentist appointments.
When you are in survival mode, you don’t feel like you have time to think about making worship a priority in your life. Haggai was saying: If you want to get through the hard times, find the courage and make time in your busy, busy life to push yourself beyond your comfort level and make time to worship your Lord. And in return, God says, I will do more than you can even imagine.
Haggai reminds the people that all the resources of the world belong to God. There is no shortage of resources. There is a shortage of focus and commitment. The message God delivered to the Israelites through Haggai is still true today. There is no shortage of resources. Make God your priority.
The Rev. Elaine Ruth is pastor at First United Methodist Church of Surgoinsville.