February 17, Wednesday
Called to be Builders
Haggai 1:1-6 (NRSV)
In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest: Thus says theLORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house. Then the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider how you have fared. You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and you that earn wages earn wages to put them into a bag with holes.
If possible, when we are calling out truth to power, we’re more likely to experience a change when we appeal the powerful person’s (or institution’s) self-interest. This is difficult for prophets to do. Prophets naturally want to keep the message pure and the conversion clean. “Thus says the Lord, do this because it’s the right thing to do!”
Those prophets generally are chased out of town or killed. We know of a few of these. Alternatively, some prophets have a slightly less altruistic approach, “Thus says the Lord, do this because it’s right and you will: a) not die b) grow your reputation c) end up with more wealth d) find universal peace, or e) something else you secretly want.” Haggai points out to the governor and the high priest that their lives aren’t quite what they could be because they have left God’s temple in shambles. While the thought of having more helps motivate the leadership, Haggai is not ultimately concerned about the prosperity of a few elite individuals. I’d add that neither is that God’s concern. God’s calling is that all the people get to work together in an effort that glorifies God. (2:4).
Do you see situations in our society today where individuals fail to glorify God but the impact is on the whole community? New construction can be very exciting. Might God be calling you to re-build a historical aspect of your community that has been neglected? What might that be?
Lord, help me to consider my ways. Open my eyes to the work you started before I was even born as well as the work yet to be done. Help me to find words to speak when I am prompted by your courageous Spirit. Even more, help me to put your words into my actions. I am listening for your call.
By Ryan Clark, CBF Global Church Engagement Manager, graduate of Arkansas Tech University
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