"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Give careful thought 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. 'You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?' declares the LORD Almighty. 'Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house." -Haggai 1:7-11
Five-hundred and twenty years before the birth of Christ, a prophet named Haggai cited the urgency of rebuilding God's temple after the Israelites were freed from captivity some 18 years earlier. In Haggai 1:3-4, it states, "Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 'Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?'"
Although only two chapters long, the book of Haggai is an important reminder for us to not loose sight of building God's kingdom on the earth. One of the ways we do this is by building His house, His church, where people connect to others in the body of Christ and are encouraged and discipled in their faith. Although we tend to live very busy lives, we need not be so concerned with our own lives and houses that we forget God's.
When talking about the word "church", there are two distinctions we should make. There is God's house, as in His temple where we gather together and worship Him, and then there is the building up of God's people, the Church. This doesn't depend on a denomination or where you worship. "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" (1 Corinthians 3:16) The book of Revelation says that Jesus is coming back for His bride, (as in the church, "Ecclesia", the body of believers) and Ephesians talks about this bride being "without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." (Ephesians 5:27)
Building God's kingdom in both of these areas involves sacrifice. It involves giving up selfish desires so that God's nature can be revealed in us. We can contribute to the kingdom in three ways: Time, treasure, and talent. Are we bringing our gifts as sacrifices to Him? God in turn promises to bless us when we honor Him with our sacrifices. "'From this day on I will bless you.'" (Haggai 2:19b)
Are you bringing God your worship, your gifts, your time, treasure and your talents? May we each be connected to the building of God's church so that God's purposes might be fully revealed in our lives.