If we were in the construction industry, the last thing we would want to do is have our crews work on the wrong house. After all, houses are built to sell, and putting time working on the wrong house may mean the right house doesn’t get finished by the time it is to be sold. As a result, we would hardly expect a competent builder to allow such a mistake to be made. If such a mistake were to occur, we would expect that builder to correct the situation so that it wasn’t likely to happen again. Such mistakes cost money and if you lose too much money, you’re out of business. So why do we make that mistake over and over again?
Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways! You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!” – Haggai 1:5-7, NASB
It seems like we’re never satisfied. We always want more: a better paying job, a bigger house, a nicer car, more toys to play with, more elaborate vacations, etc. God’s word through His prophet Haggai indicated that we’ll never be satisfied if these are our goals. This warning was originally given to those who had returned to Judah from exile. The reason for their return was to rebuild the temple. In other words, they were supposed to be working on God’s house, but they spent their time satisfying their own desires. We see the picture much more clearly a few more verses both before and ahead:
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘This people says, “The time has not come, even the time for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt.”‘” Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?” – Haggai 1:2-4, NASB
“You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away Why?” declares the LORD of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.” – Haggai 1:9, NASB
The truth of the matter is we’re no different than those who returned. They were working on the wrong house. When they were supposed to be working on God’s house, the temple, they were working on their own. They were satisfying their own pleasures. They had put God second, or worse. While we don’t have a physical temple to be working on, we do have a spiritual one: us. God dwells within us. And that’s the one we should be building up and finishing. After all, Peter tells us:
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:4-5, NASB
We are a spiritual house for a holy priesthood. Think about that for a minute. Peter wrote this to rank and file believers. We are all to be priests of the Most High God. We are all to serve Him. We are all to know His ways. All of us are to know His Word, live out His commands, and show the world who He is. God didn’t intend for a handful of folks within each church, the ones we call pastoral staff or ministry staff or church staff or the elders or whatever other name you want to use, to be the only ones serving in this capacity. He expects us all to be building up the spiritual house that we are. And that means putting away all the other stuff. It’s of secondary, and little, importance. Christ is most important. His importance in our lives should completely overwhelm everything else. If that’s true, we’re building on the right house. Otherwise, we’re building on the wrong house. We’re building on a house that won’t last. We are expending our efforts on something that has no permanent value. Instead, we could be spending our energy and giving our time on something that will last forever. It only makes sense that we put our work into that house, the one that lasts forever. But sadly, we’re usually found about the house that won’t last. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose which house we want to work on. Which house will you be building today?