My sabbatical begins after our congregational meal and potluck this Sunday. If you want a quick update on this week and upcoming dates, please click here to read the May 2018_Pastor Post Newsletter. Know that I am thankful for this gift of a sabbatical. Know as well, I will miss my dear church family.
A meditation: Like many of you, I’ve been praying for the “UpDo” Fundraising Drive. I just so happened to come across the book of Haggai in my reading thru the Bible this year, and it got me thinking…
Sometimes during financial campaigns or building campaigns, pastors turn to the book of Haggai to challenge people to give. The prophet Haggai walks among the people of Jerusalem and looks upon a shabby temple, and then cries out, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” (Hag. 1:4) Later, he speaks words of condemnation over the people (Hag. 1:9),”You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. ‘Why?’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.'”
This message hit home and the people of God invested money and time into the building up of God’s Temple. Hence, a great book to make people feel very guilty about their suburban homes and a subpar church facility, BUT…
Haggai did not want people to be satisfied with or put their hope in physical structures!! Oh, no. God had bigger plans than a fancy temple. Haggai prophesies (Hag 2:6-9), “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory, ‘ says the LORD Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace, ‘ declares the LORD Almighty.”
Haggai is speaking about the coming of Jesus Christ. The one who said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.” (John 2:19) Jesus laid down his body to build the household of God…meaning the people of God, Jew and Gentile together under Messiah Jesus (cf. Ephesians 2:11-3:6). Oh how glorious!
As you consider giving to UpDo 2018, know that the House of God is not built by human hands (nor physical in nature at all). The House of God is not adorned with gold or silver or drywall or paint. Jesus built His house through the destruction of His body. Anything we do on this side of glory must be done for people to see Jesus as the one desired for all nations. Let us labor not in vain, build not in vain, nor serve in vain…let it be done for the sake of the glorious Jesus Christ, for He alone is beautiful.