"Now these are the words of the Lord of Hosts: Consider your way of life." - Haggai 1: 5 (NEB)
Though dubbed a minor prophet, Haggai has a major message: get your priorities in order.
Haggai was called to bring God's word to the people of Israel recently returned from exile in Babylon. Though back home, they were struggling mightly and frustrated greatly. Nothing really seemed to be working for them. Haggai said that nothing would work for them until they prioritized rebuilding the temple, God's house, at the center of their lives.
They had rebuilt their own homes. As for rebuilding God's house, the consensus was, "It just isn't the right time for that."
You don't need to go out and literally build a temple or a church to take Haggai's words seriously. You and I can ponder his words — beautiful in simplicity — right now. "Consider your way of life." We can ask ourselves, as honestly as we have it in us to do, "Do I have my priorities right?"
"House," whether God's house or our own house, is a great metaphor. Are we putting all our energy into building our house, serving our own desires and egos, building our own "brand," in today's lingo? Or is our real desire, and priority, to build God's "house," to serve God's purposes in the world?
When challenged to reorder our lives, it's easy to respond as the people did to Haggai. "It's not the right time. There's too much on my plate. I'll get to that later."
To which Haggai might say, "Suit yourself, but nothing will really work in life until you put first things first."
Holy One, stop my spinning, settle my soul, and grant me the courage to "consider my own way of life," and my real priorities. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day. You can read Tony's "Weekly Meditation" and "What's Tony Thinking?" at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.