Setting Priorities

( [email protected] ) Jun 26, 2003 04:26 PM EDT

Haggai 1:2-11 (NRSV)

Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD's house. Then the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider how you have fared. You 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 you that earn wages earn wages to put them into a bag with holes.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider how you have fared. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, says the LORD. You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the LORD of hosts. Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you hurry off to your own houses. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the soil produces, on human beings and animals, and on all their labors.

You have sown much, and harvested little . . . and you that earn wages earn wages to put them into a bag with holes.

- Haggai 1:6 (NRSV)

WHILE captive in Babylon, the Israelites cried out to God to let them go home to Jerusalem to worship. Once there, they seemed to forget what God wanted: the rebuilding of the temple. They weren't doing anything wrong. They were sowing, eating, drinking, and earning wages -- things that needed to be done. But somehow they were missing God's will.

Sometimes, like them, I feel unproductive. It seems that the more I do, the farther behind I get. Along with what needs to be done every day to run my household, I desire to spend more time praying and studying the Bible. But I also want to write more, spend more time with my son, and become more organized and efficient. None of these things is negative, much less sinful. Nevertheless, if I allow the pursuit of these good things to keep me from pursuing the one, true relationship with my heavenly Father, I merely "earn wages to put them into a bag with holes."

Balancing our busy schedules without forgetting God is our challenge as children of God. It is up to us to make sure nothing else -- no matter how important -- gets in the way of that relationship.

Prayer: Dear God, forgive us for putting other things before you. Help us to do what needs doing without letting it interfere with our walk with you. Amen.


Am I so busy doing good that I have little time for God?


Putting God first