There have been times in my life where I have felt as though I am doing everything I can. I’m doing everything right and things just aren’t going my way. I’m getting up earlier and being more intentional with my time, reading to grow in my industry knowledge, exercising, eating cleaner, helping out around the house as much as possible, trying to sleep more and it’s just not coming together.
In Haggai 1:1-11 the prophet Haggai comes to Zerubbabel and Joshua to basically tell them that God says He has caused frustration to them. In a matter of 11 verses He says:
“You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat but do not have enough; you drink but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes”
“You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away”
“…Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called the drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock and on all the labor of your hands.”
Why would God do this? Why the frustration and purposefully causing a man to work so hard and bring very little back to show for it?
One simple reason. They were living for themselves first. Not God.
In the very same section of scripture, God says “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?”
God was upset that His people were too focused on their own lives, their own crops, houses, money and families that they couldn’t even be bothered to attend to building his physical temple. He says in verse 9 “because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.”
What’s amazing is that in the next chapter they had obediently gone to the mountains to bring wood back and build the temple as he commanded and God’s posture changed towards them with a promised blessing.
In chapter 2 God says 18 “Now think ahead from this same date – this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Think ahead from when the Temple rebuilding was launched. 19 Has anything in your fields – vine, fig tree, pomegranate, olive tree – failed to flourish? From now on you can count on a blessing.”
Let’s flash forward to something that Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew: “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Whenever I find myself frustrated, I always try to look deeply at my motives and ask myself this question: “Am I seeking first the Kingdom?”
Bring God your first. Time, energy, finances and focus, and he will bless everything else you have left.