A Purse with Holes in it
A Purse with Holes in It (Haggai 1:1-11)
Does it appear that you can never get ahead? You work so hard, but what you have seems to disappear? Indeed, even what you buy seems to disappoint you? Haggai's generation felt the same way. It was as if they had "a purse with holes in it" (v. 6). Two times Haggai gave God's command: "Give careful thought to your ways (vv. 5, 7). Because they failed to invest in the work of God, their entire life-style seemed futile. If your life has stopped paying dividends, consider investing in the work of God.
Recognize the Procrastination When Life Stops Paying Dividends
Recognize the reality of procrastination in your spiritual life. "These people say, 'The time has not yet come for the Lord's house to be built' " (v. 2). Fifteen years earlier, they had just stopped. They worshiped in ruins and rubble for fifteen years! They admitted that the house of God ought to be built, but just not now.
Recognize the real reason for procrastination in your spiritual life. Haggai noted that God's people lived in "paneled houses" (v. 3), while God's house rested in ruins. Evidently, they had taken the very cedar brought for the new temple and used it to cover their own houses. Although there was not time to sacrifice for God's house, they had plenty of time to sacrifice for their own.
Realize the relevance for Travis Avenue. The time has come. We have not chosen the time, the time has chosen us. We cannot say that the time has not yet come. It is here. The question facing us is the same as that of Haggai: will we use our resources for God or for ourselves?
Remember the Futility When Life Stops Paying Dividends
Reflect carefully on your way of life. Four times Haggai called his generation to careful reflection on their ways (vv. 5, 7; 2:15, 18). If they would only stop and reflect, they would see the emptiness of life that neglected the work of God.
Remember critically your way of life. Haggai's generation experienced futility, hopelessness, and meaninglessness because they did not invest in God's work. Their planting, eating, drinking, clothing, and earning was a drudgery with no meaning or purpose. "You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it" (v. 6). They had high expectations of life, but were disappointed again and again (v. 9). Life seemed fruitless, wearisome, vexing, and hopeless.
Can you really say that you enjoy what you have? If you are not investing in God's work, you will never enjoy it.
Renew the Activity that Makes Life Pay Dividends
There is a simple practicality in the life that pays dividends. "Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house." When God's people set their hearts on building God's house, life begins to pay dividends again.
There is a purpose in the activity, so that God "may take pleasure in it and be honored" (v. 8). When the goal of your life becomes building for the pleasure and honor of God, real meaning comes back. The way to repair a purse with holes in it is to invest in the work of God.