Today, I was listening to a really challenging sermon, on the biblical book of Haggai. It is a book within the Old Testament, and is considered part of the “minor prophets” books in the Bible.
For those of you who have never read this book in the Bible—it is, after all, a book that I think gets missed a lot—this is the jist of it (as helped by this website): after the Israelites were exiled to a foreign land because of their idolatry, Nehemiah and others were called to return back to Jerusalem, to start building up its walls. Fast forward many years, and many of the exiled Israelites were back in Jerusalem, rebuilding their lives. But there is one problem: no one seems interested in rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem—or, they are not as interested in rebuilding the Temple as they are interested in carrying out their own agendas above God’s. God speaks through the prophet Haggai, showing the Israelites that they were wrong in their list of priorities. They agree, making the rebuilding of the Temple—God’s Work—the priority.
This biblical account reminded me a bit of the story of Mary and Martha; Mary sat as Jesus’ feet, making time enjoying His Presence the priority, while her sister, Martha, made the many things that seemingly needed to be done right that second the priority.
Now, honestly, Martha saw service to Christ as an incredibly important thing; and it is! But, according to Jesus, it is not as important as spending time at His Feet. “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one,” Jesus told Martha. “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV).
Back to Haggai. As I listened to the sermon, my heart was “pricked” with conviction. How many times have I ignored God’s will and plan for my day, my season, my life? What are the things—the distractions, the apathy, the chores, and the self-centeredness—in my life that keep me from obeying Jesus wholeheartedly, especially within this blog?
112 Chibok girls are still held captive, with only God knowing their true location and situation. Yet, how many times have I valued merely checking things off my to-do list (including writing these blogs), without even praying about the people said blog post is for? Way more than I would like to admit.
This is not meant to condemn. I know that I am under Jesus’ blood; every follower of Christ, is. And it is not wrong, in the least, to enjoy your life or to get chores and errands done! But I want to ask this same question that has been rolling around in my mind, to you: What is keeping you from doing what Christ has asked you to do?
I have realized that I need to pray much more than I need to write about praying.
At times, do you feel that the work Christ has for us to do can feel mundane, challenging, or heavy? It is not meant to be this way. Christ does not call us to carry around a heavy, religious burden! He calls us to cast all of our cares and burdens onto HIM, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22). Whatever He has asked you to do, He Himself will give you all you need to complete the task He has given you.
If Christ has asked you to do something today, don’t let the many cares of this world and an endless to-do list keep you from it. Make the one thing He has definitely called you to do the priority: time alone with Him, the thing that “is better, and will not be taken away from you.” As you spend precious time with your First Love, offer yourself and your life fully to Him, and watch Him move!
This blog post is in tribute to Leah Sharibu, whose 15th birthday was had in Boko Haram captivity on May 15th, all because she refused to convert to Islam. Please pray that she would be freed, very soon.
Do you know Jesus?
Jesus Christ—God the Son—came down, out of blissful and perfect heaven, for you.
Not so that you would just be a convert, another mere slave to do His Will (though doing His Will is apart of it).
No. He came to earth, and died the death you and I deserved, merely so that we would have a personal relationship with Him. He only wanted to have us near to Him, walking in the light of His Presence, and enjoying a saving relationship with Him, the One who did. It. All.
Learn more about this amazing, beautiful God, here!
Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this blogpost, here):
- Leah Sharibu, her friends, family, and loved ones. Please pray that her mother would not succumb to her many health issues brought on by Leah’s kidnapping; please pray that Christ would protect, strengthen, and comfort His People as they await her freedom/rescue.
- For the Chibok schoolgirls. You can read about them, and receive their names and pictures, here.
- That I would focus much more on praying for these girls, instead of merely writing about them as if it is only something I need to “check off my list.” Pray that I would get to the heart of the matter.
Thank you for all of your prayers.
9 responses to “Precious Time: Making Time for Jesus in a World of To-Do’s”
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What are these to you?
Rebuilding the wall
Rebuilding the city, restoring the ruins
Rebuilding the Temple
I would love to hear how you translate this in everyday, practical terms.
Hello! Are you speaking about a certain passage in the Bible?
Several, too many to mention without reading the entire Bible. I am asking because it is a recurring theme in the Bible.
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And I am looking for a metaphorical understanding more than literal.
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Ah, I see. Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that the rebuilding of ruins can metaphorically be how God wants to come into our lives, after we run away from Him, to heal what the enemy, the world, and our own selves have ruined (if that makes sense). We break, God fixes and redeems.
I have no idea about the walls, but I think it can be included into what I said about ruins. Proverbs 25:28 says, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” I take this to mean that when we lack self-control, we become vulnerable to horrible things and the consequences of our unwise/sinful actions.
As for the temple, I think of when Jesus turns over the money-changers’ tables in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13). I’ve heard pastors tie this to our lives in this way: if we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), is Jesus #1 in our hearts, minds, souls, and lives? Is there anything within us that Jesus wants to overthrow or that He is not okay with? The temple is sacred, so I see it as representing how sacred our lives and relationships with Christ are.
Honestly, I don’t have foolproof answers, and I am trying to answer this as best as possible. The Bible speaks of rebuilding ruins, lives and temples quite literally in prophecy, and to say it is only metaphorical would be wrong (it is literal, but can be applied to our lives). I would ask your pastor for more insight if you have one. Thanks for your comment!
Annalee, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY
It makes sense, as there are millions out there hurting badly, broken after especially gossip in church, even by pastors, had cost people their jobs, businesses, marriages, even their homes. Such people need being taken to a repair yard, even ICU.
My wife and I have been lay counselors among abuse victims for a few decades, also “surrogate parents” to well over a hundred runaway teens & young adults who called us “Mom & Dad.” In the process, we had our own legs broken, flesh eaten, eyes pecked out simply because we didn’t fit, of necessity, into the church matrix.
Perhaps an extreme apprenticeship yet we understand the hurt of others, having been there ourselves. Maybe writing a book to encourage others may be a good idea.
Christians bash gays, saying they won’t go to heaven, yet they gossip & slander, ruining the lives of others. Will they go to heaven? There is a nasty surprise in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 and 1 Corinthians 6.
Isn’t the wall perhaps just first erecting one’s own defences, to become less vulnerable?
Read my post about child mokestation in church, of two or three days ago, which was in response to another blogger’s attacking all Catholics, slandering them, condemning them to Hell. I’m neither Catholic nor Protestant, but did think that stereotyping was damaging. We should not go about hurting and wilfully offending others, right?
Our pulpits are so dead quiet about gossip & slander.
Here is a link to that post
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It is commendable that you have been lay counselors for abused children and even parents– that is something close to my heart as well. I will read your link. Thank you!