by Doug Smith
We have considered the big rocks of God’s Word and the worship of God. Let us consider:
Big Rock #3 The Work of God (The Evidence of Our Priorities) - v. 12-15
In his book, How to Worship Jesus Christ, Joseph S. Carroll notes that “worship always precedes service” and says that “you will serve the one you worship.” If we have the big rock of God’s Word in place, and then the big rock of worship is present, then we will surely have the work of God as a priority. In fact, our service reveals our priorities.
The people had returned from exile. They had begun rebuilding and had completed the foundation. But they had become discouraged and had not worked on the temple for 16 years! This was supposed to be a major reason for their return. Their lack of work was evidence of misplaced priorities. Conversely, their activity in working on the temple would be evidence of having their priorities straight again.
God’s worship leads to service, but God’s presence encourages it and His Spirit empowers it. Haggai reminded the people that God was with them (v. 13), and the Lord stirred up their spirits to work (v. 14). As a result, they did work (v. 14).
What does your work, or lack of it, reveal about your priorities? Works do not save us, but they can be an evidence of salvation. Christians do not work to be accepted by God, but because they are already accepted by God on the basis of what Christ has done.
After trusting in Christ, the first work God calls a believer to is to follow the Lord by being baptized, thereby publicly identifying himself or herself with Christ through the symbolic burial with Him in His death and the resurrection to newness of life pictured by this ordinance. If you will not obey the command to be baptized, how can you expect to be useful in any other service to the Lord?
Church membership is something else we should consider. Linking arms with a local assembly, covenanting to support its work and submit to its discipline, is another way that we go forward with the work of God. Do not view the church as another option in our consumeristic culture. If you are a Christian, commit yourself to a local assembly and love those fellow members and serve in and through that local church.
Intentionally seek out ways to serve. Be proactive; take the initiative. Deliver a meal to that new family. Offer to babysit for that single mother. Get to know others and really help out and pray for them in specific ways that will bless them. Be friendly and reach out to those people that others seem to have little to do with. Don’t let age differences, socioeconomic background, or skin color be a factor in choosing people to serve. Consider who you need to share the Gospel with. Do helpful things that you may not get recognized for. Do tough things that others don’t want to do. Focus on things that build up the body of Christ and give encouragement in the Christian walk.
Let us serve the Lord, since our works are evidence of our priorities.
We will conclude our study in Haggai 1 tomorrow.