Working Hard and Not Getting Far
Ever feel like you are killing yourself doing “everything you’re supposed to do” but not getting very far? Maybe you are working hard, but there’s more month than paycheck. Maybe you’re volunteering all the time with your children, but can’t get your family tied closer together. Are you making good food choices, but can’t lose 10 pounds to save your life? Ever want to ask God, what gives?
The people of Israel were in the same boat thousands of years ago when the prophet Haggai showed up. Their clothes couldn’t keep them warm, they ate and were never full, they planted much, but harvested little, the scripture says they, “earned wages only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” (Haggai 1:5-6)
So – what gives?
Keep reading in this tiny book of the Old Testament and you get to verse 9 where through the prophet, God tells the people they’ve “neglected my House”. The people of God were doing all the right things – good and necessary things – but lacked the right priorities. Instead of satisfaction – their work led to scarcity.
Our lives today are also filled with good and necessary things. I think women get sold a bill of goods by self-help gurus who tell us that if we “balance” everything – we’ll come out on top. For me – for my family – it’s not about finding balance. It’s about priorities and properly ordering the good so it becomes the best use of our time in that moment. That was God’s point to his people in the book of Haggai.
Jesus echo’s the Father’s words in the New Testament when he encourages us to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” and all these things (food, clothing, money) would be added to us. (Matthew 6:33)
Things end well for the people Haggai came to speak – chapter one ends with telling us the people obeyed the Lord’s instruction. We also know that thirty days into prioritizing the House of God the Lord tells the people he “will grant peace”. Four months into the process, once the corner stone was laid for the temple, the Lord tells his people, “I will bless you.” (Hag 2:19)
Not only do we ward off lack (lack of time, energy, resources) when we order the “good” in our lives, but God responds in kind. Granting us peace as soon as we acknowledge what we should do then blessing us and the work of our hands once we do it. Peace, then blessing.
I hear working moms, stay at home moms, empty nesters, single women, women of every walk and stage lament how “busy” they are and can never seem to get ahead of the cycle. It reminds me of a phrase Nazi Germany posted over the World War II work camps to encourage their incarcerated victims, “Work will make you free”.
Many people are caught in that cycle, physically and spiritually. Maybe you’ve told yourself this or heard a friend say, “If I get through this season, things will calm down…let me get the kids in school…once I finish this project…I just need to get this one course finished”. It’s a lie – no amount of work will ward off scarcity or make us free. Only one thing rebukes the curse of scarcity. When we properly order our lives, prioritize the good, in affect “seek ye first his Kingdom” we place ourselves in a position where we read in Micah the Lord “rebukes the devourer for our sakes” and “establishes the work of our hands,” like David writes in Psalm 90:17. It worked in Haggai’s time, it worked for disciples Jesus taught, and it can work for us today.
Now that’s what I called Revived Encouraged and Valued – thanks for letting me share a little REVelation for the day.