What’s Your Dream?September 10, 2012 - 10:02 am
“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” — Haggai 1:4
The prophet Haggai lived in a transitional time. Let’s set the scene. About a hundred years earlier, the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were exiled to Babylon. Seventy years after that, the Persians captured Babylon and encouraged the Jews to return to their homeland. Some did, and when they got there, they began to rebuild the Temple.
But the locals who had moved in while the Jews were shipped out, made all sorts of problems and brought the rebuilding of the Temple to a complete stop. Years went by and there was a new king in Persia. But construction of the Temple did not resume.
Enter Haggai. Haggai had but one main message throughout the entire book: It’s time to rebuild the Temple! Here are his exact words: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Haggai told the people that it was inappropriate for them to be living in beautiful homes when the House of the Lord remained in shambles.
What happened? These are the same people who gave up their comfortable homes in Babylon, while most of the Jews chose to stay there, in order to return to Zion and rebuild the Temple. Now they are the ones who are more focused on the beauty of their own homes than the House of God?
The Jews who returned to Zion were full of spirit and idealism. But then real life happened. The Temple building was halted, and they got swept up in the daily, mundane needs of rebuilding their lives. During the years when construction on the Temple was forbidden, the Jewish people lost their focus. They lost sight of their spiritual goals in the jumble of their physical pursuits. That was until Haggai came along, not so much to scold them, but to remind them of their dreams and priorities to get them back on track.
Once upon a time, we all had lofty goals. Remember? Maybe you wanted to end world hunger. Or maybe you wanted to spread God’s word all over the world. Kids dream big because they don’t have to deal fully with reality.
But then we grow up, and what happens? We have to pay the bills. We have a mortgage and a family. We have office hours and after-hours work. Lots of our dreams get shelved. And that’s ok. But what happens later in life when the kids have moved on and so have we? There will be a day when you have the extra time and the bills are a bit less. Here’s the message of the prophet Haggi — don’t forget the dreams that you once had when you finally get the chance to pursue them!