Need help? Call or text 858.746.9950

TEXT: Haggai 1:1-11

MESSAGE: “Priorities In Difficult Times”

“A decade after the last financial crisis and recession, the U.S. economy remains significantly smaller than it should be based on its pre-crisis growth trend…This represents a lifetime present-value income loss of about $70,000 for every American. – Regis Barnichon 

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box,and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” – Luke 21:1-4

“No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve both God and money.” –Matthew 6:24

Commentator Peter Craigie says, “Haggai was faced with the inertia of despair and sluggishness…And to cap it all, drought and various crop afflictions left the land poor and the people dispirited. (The temple) had been in ruin for decades; most would have thought that it should remain that way until such time as the economy improved. Haggai was one of a small handful of men who perceived that despite the sad state of the economy, something had to be done about the temple…From a religious point of view, the temple was a symbol of God’s presence amongst his people, while it remained a ruin, there was little hope for a revival of the faith.” 

God addressed three things…(1. A Me-First Mentality 2. A New Order 3. A Deeper Lesson)

  1. A Me-First Mentality (v.2-6) – “Thus says the Lordof hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your waysYou have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but younever have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.” 
  2. 2 “Thus says the Lordof hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.”
  3. 4Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?”

God’s doing two things here:

(1) He’s challenging their excuses

(2) He’s exposing reality

  1. 5-6 “Consider your waysYou 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 he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”

“It is a hard lesson to learn that practical policies are not always the best policies. But the real flaw in the policy that Haggai criticized was to be seen in its ordering of priorities; it was wrong, not because it was practical, but because it was selfish. A life devoted to one’s own needs rarely brings fulfillment, whereas when the focus is shifted to an external need, the consequences is frequently satisfaction and fulfillment.” – Peter Cragie 

  1. A New Order (v. 7-9) – Thus says the Lordof hosts: Consider your waysGo up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. Youlooked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. 

“Number one: Put God first. Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me. Everything that I’ve accomplished, everything that you think I have – and I have a few things. Everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It’s a gift. Forty years ago, March 27th, 1975 – it was forty years ago just this past March, I was flunking out of college I had a 1.7 grade point average, I hope none of you can relate. I had a 1.7 grade point average, I was sitting in my mother’s beauty shop … And I’m looking in the mirror and I see behind me this woman under the dryer and every time she looked up…she was looking at me. She was looking me in the eye, I don’t know who she was and…she said somebody give me a pen, give me a pencil I have a prophecy. March 27th, 1975, she said boy you are going to travel the world and speak to millions of people. Now mind you I flunked out of college I’m thinking about joining the army…and she is telling me I’m going to travel the world and speak to millions of people. Well I have, traveled the world. And I have spoke to millions of people, but that’s not the most important thing, success that I had, the most important thing is…what she taught me, what she told me that day has stayed with me since. I’ve been protected, I’ve been directed, I’ve been corrected, I’ve kept God in my life and it’s kept me humble, I didn’t always stick with him but he always stuck with me. So stick with him, in everything you do…”  Denzel Washington 

  1. A Deeper Lesson (v. 10-11) “Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11 And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.”

“Because I longed for eternal life, I went to bed with harlots and drank for nights on end. I slept in bliss, but awoke with the bitter taste of the mortal state.” – Clamence (“The Fall” by Albert Camus) 

TAKEAWAYS: Consider…

* Your Excuses

“The greatest danger of busyness is that there may be greater dangers you never have time to consider.” – Kevin DeYoung (Crazy Busy) 

And so, are we prioritizing God? TWO QUESTIONS:

  •       Does your busyness align with what God is asking you to do?
  •       Does your use of resources (Time, Talent, Money) align with what God asks of you?

 * God’s Ways

“In the Old Testament, we know the Old Testament believers were required to give away 10 percent of their annual income to God’s work, to the poor, and so on. Everything we know from both pagan and Christian historical texts, from the New Testament and early Christian and even pagan historical texts is the early Christians went way beyond the tithe. They went way beyond 10 percent. As a result, the pagans had never seen anybody this promiscuous with their money. They’d never seen people give their money away in such proportion…they’d never seen people give it away with joy. Here’s the reason why. Christians don’t worship money.”  — Timothy Keller 

* The Why

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again…it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer