So today in my quiet time I was reading Haggai. The first chapter was so interesting in its description of a people who chase after stuff and are never satisfied. "You have food to eat, but not enough to fill you up. You have wine to drink, but not enough to satisfy your thirst. You have clothing to wear, but not enough to keep you warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!" Hello - has he been looking at my checkbook?
Haggai continues in this manner for sometime, expressing God's anger with a people that is consumed by stuff-chasing. Is that a word? While people were seeking to meet their own desires, the temple of the Lord lay in complete ruin. Religion took a backseat to their own wants. I was certainly convicted that I have often allowed my own faith to lay in ruins around me while I chased after my own desires.
The beautiful part of this first chapter in Haggai is what happens after the people are confronted with their sins. They repent. Completely and immediately. In obedience they begin to rebuild the temple. God's anger changed to pleasure. "I am with you," said the Lord. I sneak peeked at some of the rest of Haggai (Yeah, I'm that kind of reader) - God continually affirms and encourages those working to rebuild the temple.
I love that God honors obedience and repentance. I hope that God will use us as church planters to help others lay down their stuff-chasing and exchange it for a life of faith and beauty. I hope that God does not allow us to ever lay down our faith to chase after other things. I only want Him.