Sunday, August 24, 2008

First Thoughts

There are so many thoughts accumulating as I've entered this new life. So many. But I will start here:

In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, 'The time has not yet come for the LORD's house to be built.' "

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?"

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."

This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD. "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands."
Haggai 1:1-11

This was the passage my new pastor preached on this morning. He's been doing a series called "Little Books that Pack a Big Punch". He began by telling the story of his family in Colorado - they spent a week there mainly for the purpose of hiking. It was rainy, cold, and at one point started to snow (in August). As the sun came out the snow melted, which created ice. (All this while they were trying to hike.) At one point, someone in his family said "I hate this!" They were out that day expecting to have a wonderful time together as a family in the beautiful setting of the Colorado Mountains. Instead they ended up cold, wet and miserable.

I think you might know where I'm going with this.

Sometimes we start with an end goal in mind, usually a goal that will make us happy and a goal that we feel is God's will. We typically want to make the journey to get their a happy one, too. Sometimes that journey is not what you expect it to be. The Israelites were building their own houses and not the Temple. They faced opposition in their initial attempts to rebuild, and assumed it was not God's timing to continue on. So they chose to focus on their own homes instead. When God's blessings didn't increase as their worked on their homes - guess what? Their expectations were not met.

I think God wanted me to hear this message this morning because my journey this far is not what I want it to be, and before I arrived in the sanctuary this morning my heart was frustrated by this. In fact, I was angry and disappointed things weren't going my way.

Then I realized this journey may not be what I expect, and that it may not even be fun. But I must enjoy God, enjoy his people, and remember that following God's will does not always promise a simple or easy road to walk on.


Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be your name

2 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

What great thoughts Stephanie. I sometimes think that if it is easy then it is not God. If there is no great struggle then there is no great victory. If we can do it in the flesh then it is not kingdom work.

Hang in there Stephanie.. I am singing that song with you.. rooting you on.. wondering what marvelous things the Lord has in store for you.. and me :)

Happy Monday!

-Bob

Shane Vander Hart said...

Great post! Funny I just finished preaching through Haggai (a whole three sermons).