“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Haggai 1:4
The dream was coming true. The time had come for the exiled people to return from Babylon, the place of captivity. Zerubbabel brought the first wave of Israelites back to Jerusalem. They were tasked with building the Temple of the Lord and the excitement was more than they could contain. But time can be an enemy for the mission. We know the reason that the Lord spoke the rebuke to the people about stopping the work on the Temple and living in houses finer than what the Lord Himself had. Because of opposition, resistance, and distractions the people turned to building for themselves instead of for the Lord.
Look at the times we live in now. There is probably no greater time as now, full of things that pull our attention away from the Lord’s work and His service. As individuals, we run here and run there checking off things to do and places to be. It’s easy to lose sight of the “Why” we do something because of the concern for “How” we do it.
“We often get so consumed with the task that we forget the purpose.”
This can be a problem for the local church as well. The first way is due to oppression and resistance. Many times, the people start off strong and energetic for the work of the Kingdom but trouble comes along. Disgruntled bystanders, ones that are not doing the work, deflate the enthusiasm that the people have had for the work. Time just wears on them and they turn their attentions more and more to their own lives and where they see less resistance. Folks that were once dedicated, faithful laborers of the Kingdom drift into the distance focusing more on themselves now.
The second way that Kingdom work shifts from the original purpose is the growing desire to grow “Your church” or “Your congregation” and forgetting that it all starts with and belongs to God. Oh, we start well like the workers for the temple, building for the Kingdom of God for His glory, but distractions get in the way because things are going well and growth has come. It’s exciting because people are coming in and finances are not as much of a problem as before. This is where we must be careful, because the good thing, the shiny thing becomes our god. Taking our eyes off of the original and true purpose and turning into “Our kingdom” purpose.
The third thing that can cause the church to loss sight of the purpose is complacency. Complacency is becoming too comfortable where your at. For the church this can happen after some time of success and growth where it becomes routine. This is the start of the plateau that many churches find themselves. complacency and plateau is in the middle, not going up or down, it is a easy, not stressful or challenging.
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We can go about and build a kingdom of possessions and amass all the wealth that we can possibly imagine, but that will not do us any good when the end of days come to each and every one of us on earth. For “Our kingdom” will end up in someones hands, other than ours, when we die. We are living in a temporal world surrounded by temporal things.
The Kingdom of God is eternal. The Kingdom that we, as His children, heirs with Christ, inherit and are to be workers in is an Everlasting Kingdom. “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.” Psalms 145:13
Let us today, in these times of oppression, resistance, and distractions, keep our eyes and minds on the work of the Father, building the Kingdom of God.
Rob Beckett Pastor Church of the Nazarene in Shepherdsville, Kentucky
Visit us on Facebook at Rural Revitalization Network
Email at rural-revitalization.network