In the second year of King Darius…the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai…This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”
Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai:“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses,while this house remains a ruin?”…
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build My house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. –Haggai 1:1-4, 7-8 (emphasis added)
The Jews stalled for 15 years on rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. Initially, they stopped building the temple because they feared for their lives because of their enemies’ threats. As the years passed, opposition weaned and their enemies were no longer threatening their lives. Fear was no longer keeping them from rebuilding the temple…being distracted with their OWN STUFF was.
While the Jews claimed that rebuilding the temple was their top priority, their actions proved otherwise. Building their own homes – not just any homes, but expensive, paneled homes – became their top priority. There was nothing inherently wrong with them building their own houses. What was wrong was that they had misplaced their priorities. They prioritized their own stuff over “God’s stuff” and gave the best of what they had (time, money, and energy) to build homes for themselves instead of for God (His Temple).
Haggai challenged the Jews, essentially saying “Consider this…you want to experience ‘God stuff’ but you have put YOUR OWN STUFF over GOD’S STUFF.” He called them to reprioritize (1) what was most important, (2) where they were spending their time, money, energy, (3) what God would be most pleased and honored by, and (4) God’s stuff over their own stuff. Essentially, Haggai was implying that “When God is honored through you, he will bless you. When you put God’s stuff over your own stuff, you will experience God stuff.”
Prioritizing God’s stuff over our stuff is when we experience “God stuff”.
When we get busy with our stuff over God’s stuff, we don’t experience God stuff. BUT, when we prioritize God’s stuff over our stuff, we experience God stuff. This is the common denominator that keeps so many of us from experiencing God stuff: we prioritize our stuff over God’s stuff.
We all want to experience God’s stuff. However, all of our efforts and prayers to experience His stuff will be futile until we prioritize God’s stuff over our stuff.
Here’s a useful statement that will help us “consider our ways”…
“(It’s) ________ important, BUT ________.”
Whatever you feel God would have you start that sentence (the ‘It’) with is God’s stuff. Like the Jews with rebuilding the temple, there are some things we already know God would tell us to make our top priorities. Other times, God stirs something specific in our hearts…like joining and serving on a team, sharing Jesus with someone, being generous financially…this is God’s stuff! This is what we are to make a top priority and put first.
Whatever comes after the ‘BUT’ in the statement is always our stuff.
Whatever the BUT is, is what makes us continue to prioritize our stuff over God’s stuff. Often, there is nothing wrong with the BUT. What is wrong is our misplaced priorities…putting our stuff over God’s stuff and giving the best of ourselves to that stuff instead of His stuff.
“(It’s) ________ important, BUT ________.”
Consider your ways…prioritizing God’s stuff over our stuff is when we experience “God stuff”.
Do you want to experience God stuff? Are you prioritizing God’s stuff over your stuff?
Relevant, do we together want to experience God stuff? Are we prioritizing God’s stuff over our stuff?
This week, let’s pray through this and choose to reprioritize! Let’s start small…elevating one thing we feel called to make a top priority and sacrifice everything else for it.
This will be hard, because it means we will have to sacrifice some of our stuff…but we won’t be sorry we did!
I’ve never met anyone who regretted prioritizing God’s stuff over their stuff, sacrificing their stuff for His stuff. But I’ve met countless people, who regret choosing to prioritize their stuff over God’s stuff and who’ve missed out on experiencing “God stuff”.
Let’s choose to prioritize God’s stuff. Through it, we will PROVE we are READY and COMMITTED to be difference makers, and through it, we will experience GOD STUFF!