We can do so much of what we do thoughtlessly. So easy for us to go on autopilot — doing what we do because we’ve always done it. And often it’s because we allow ourselves to be driven by what is pragmatic more than what should be priority. Or by what brings immediate pleasure rather than a future prize. While we might be working that which is good, we might also be neglecting that which is best.
That’s why it’s so helpful to have Haggai in your annual reading plan. At least once a year you’re going to be encouraged to take some time and consider your ways.
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.” Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.”
(Haggai 1:2-5 ESV)
They were a people once marked by exile but now returned to the land of their fathers. A people once in subjection to an enemy, but now liberated to pursue their God. And their God had called them to return to the land and rebuild His house. But they got distracted.
They had their own homes to re-establish. After 70 years of inattention, their fields were a mess. And besides, not only was rebuilding the temple hard work, it wasn’t popular work with those outsiders who still had influence over the land.
So, it’s not too hard to understand how their focus might shift. How working on that which is easier might take time away from working on that which was harder. How attending to that which would benefit themselves in the short term might supplant spending time on that which would honor their God over the long haul. How spending their discretionary time on getting their own homes remodeled might seem more important than making the time to ensure God’s house was being rebuilt.
But God says through His prophet, repeatedly, “Consider your ways” (Hagai 1:5, 1:7, 2:15, 2:18).
“Think carefully” (CSB) about what you’re doing. “Take a good, hard look at your life” (MSG). “Give careful thought to your ways” (NIV).
Recognize how you’ve let pragmatics dictate your priorities. After all, a roof over your head and food on the table is pretty important. See how you’ve allowed pleasures to consume your free time. Because what’s the point of living again in the land of the free if you’re not free to live how you want? Think carefully about how you’ve allowed your own good to supplant God’s glory.
Consider your ways.
End of year is a great time to pause and ponder. To sit back, look around, and take inventory.
To review our calendars. To reflect on our goals. To recalibrate our measures of success.
To look beyond all that we do which is good and consider if, perhaps, there isn’t something our God calls us to which is better.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ~ Jesus
(Matthew 6:33 ESV)
“Consider your ways,” says the LORD of hosts.
Because of grace. For His glory.