There can be no more worthy activity than contributing positively to the building of God’s house. In the days of Haggai the temple building programme had ground to a halt, for understandable reasons. Local opposition and government legislation had brought a pause to the project, and when that happened the builders lost focus. They now concentrated on DIY and improving their own homes, and where is the unity and collective benefit in that?

“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” (Haggai 1:4). A bit of DIY, or pursuit of selfish activities might not seem that bad – it’s not as though they had started idol worship like earlier generations. Yet they had forgotten their priority, which was to do things for the Lord. Jesus instructs that we should “seek first the kingdom” and everything else is secondary. There were consequences for the people of Israel. However hard they worked the harvests were not good and money seemed to disappear very easily. Because they had “lost their first love” God was no longer blessing them.

The answer was to engage once again with the things of God. Haggai encouraged them to this end, and with four years the great temple rebuilding project was complete. “They came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God” (Haggai 1:14) and were blessed as a result.

Today, let us consider our priorities and see how far our focus might have slipped from the things of God.