Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:5)
Those three words thunder in my soul. Maybe it’s because my ways have broken me down. Maybe it’s because something within me is parched or perhaps famished. I look around and I see the same look deep within my sisters eyes. The look of hunger. The look of a parched and thirsty soul. I see it. Their eyes seem to plead for refreshment. It’s a look that can’t be hidden with a new blouse or a brand new car. The fancy Christmas tree doesn’t cut it either. Neither does the church attendance. Yes, they, like myself, can be found sitting in the pews of the local church. Makeup on, hair just so. We gather there as a sacred ritual. We gather but what are we gathering for? Out of duty? Out of obligation? We’re there in body. But are we there in spirit? Why do we gather?
The exiles gathered back to Jerusalem. They gathered to rebuild the house of God. Yet year after year passed and only the foundation was laid. They took the paneled wood set aside for the temple and used it to build their own homes. Of coarse they had a good excuse. Excuses are easy to come by and even easier to believe. They reasoned that “the time to build has not come.”
Time has a way of doing that; passing us by. Time is the stuff life is made of. As time passes so does our lives, opportunity hitches a ride and like that they both disappear into the sunset. I once read”We are naive to think that we can waste time without damaging eternity.” Time is a precious gift; yet we like the prodigal son squander it on vain living.
So 16 years passed. 16 long years and no temple. As a result; a drought. They “expected much but it turned out to be little. Why? Declares the Lord Almighty, because of my house, which remains in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house.” He called them to a deeper level of commitment. They moved back, yes. But he moved them back for a purpose “that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified.” Pleasure and glory go hand in hand. Yet what’s so wonderful about glory is the fact that Gods glory brings pleasure to our souls. We thrive on glory. Yet our lives, like eyes to the soul, show there’s a want there. Both from God and from us. Going to church is just the begining. Many of us have laid the foundation yet that’s where it stops. We’re called to the church to build His Church.
It’s easy to stay busy in this fast paced world. So many things are competing for our attention. We run ourselves ragged, spending ourselves and we have very little to show for it.
The paradox I see here is; sometimes the most busy people are the most spiritually idle.
Indifferent to God and His glory, We stutter in our service.
I’m guilty of this, expecting much yet giving little. Yet the temptation is to stop expecting all together. The fruit of indifference looks a lot like casualness.
Since when is it ok to be casual about the things of God? Has His glory diminished or has it simply been overlooked? And if that’s the case how do we miss the blazing light of the Spirit? How is that possible?
I have always found it interesting that after the Exodus, while the very Holiness of God descended upon the mountain, the eyes of the people turned to a golden calf.
Now, the Glory rests upon us. Yet, our eyes are drawn to the golden allure of our own ways. Blinded by selfish desire, we turn our gaze away.
God spoke through the prophet Malachi and said “you are robbing me…by your tithes and contributions.”
Contributions is the Hebrew word for offering.
We tend to think by slipping God a check we’ve done our share but could it be that in our giving we actually rob from the kingdom? We are called the give monetarily but when that’s all we give we have missed the point. As he called for the people to give tithes, He was calling for the fruit of their time. The outcome of their lives. Many of us can see the tie then, between money and tithe because our lives are wrapped up in making that money. So a money tithe can absolutely be a sacrifice of our life but it’s when we separate the heart from the gift that the opposite effect occurs; were robbers instead of givers.
Hosea 6:8 says that God desires “the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” The contribution he is looking for is that of our heart. It just happens that it takes time to contribute our heart to the sacred cause of Christ. Our hearts will not be spent apart from time.
It’s clear that the lack of vitality in our lives is because of our own lack of contribution.
When we with hold our hearts heaven closes up and our souls feel the repercussions.
Heaven is thundering ever so loudly: Give careful thought to your ways. Because in them the true master of your heart is found out.
Time tells all…even the master of your heart.