Today’s scripture selection: Haggai
Key verses: Haggai 1:4-8
It was time to rebuild the temple. It had been destroyed, years before, and permission had been given for it to be rebuilt. Those who had been exiled had a chance to return to their homeland and their God.
But the building project had stalled. For over fifteen years, nothing had been done. Apathy – or the wrong priorities – had taken their toll.
Then a prophet of God named Haggai came along. And this is what he said:
“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” 5Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but 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 thoughts to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD.
I especially like that part about people who “earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Thousands of years after those words were spoken – I can picture some I know who never seem to be satisfied; never seem to be at peace; never seem to have enough. Haggai speaks to them, and to us, as much as he ever spoke to his own people.
Our priorities speak volumes about who we are. And, for the person of faith, God’s priorities and call are at the top of the list.
Prayer: Lord, may I always order my “to-do” list according to your desires and purpose for me. AMEN.
By Paul Simrell
The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
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