On Thursday, I was sitting next to a very interesting person on my plane ride home, talking about life, kids, charity and a ton of other things—including my job. The beauty of being a part of The Gospel Project is it pushes against my evangelistic fears. Even if it’s the briefest conversation, when someone asks “What is that”, I get to open up and talk about Jesus.
That’s a big deal for me, especially since, as many of you know, evangelism isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I am quite timid at times about it, shrinking back when I know I shouldn’t. Or sometimes just neglecting it entirely.
Yet God has given his people this mission: to go and make disciples of all nations. At the same time, he knows our tendencies. He knows we’re tempted to go astray or neglect this mission. But in his grace, he continually calls us back to the task he’s given.
I explored this theme in greater detail in a post this week at The Gospel Project blog, focusing on Haggai’s message to the returned exiles:
The people returned from their long exile in Babylon. They were brought back to rebuild the temple, but their work was not yet complete. Some said the time was not right (1:2). They started rebuilding their own lives instead—building houses and farming their land. But their work was hindered—the harvest didn’t yield good fruit; water was scarce. When God spoke to them His question was, “Why do you think this is happening?”
“Because My house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house” (1:9).
The remnant of the Israelites returned to the land to rebuild God’s Temple. They repented of their former rejection of God, and they longed to worship Him as He commanded. Yet they soon became distracted from God with the very mission He had given them. The stuff of life began to choke out their passion for the Lord, and they experienced hardship because of it. And God, the good Father that He is, told them why. Through Haggai’s message, God was calling them back; He was drawing them toward Himself.
This is good news, isn’t it? Imagine being one of the people hearing this prophecy. How would it have affected you? In the case of the remnant, they were confronted with their sin; but instead of doubling down as their ancestors had done, they repented. The people responded to God in faith—they “obeyed the voice of the Lord their God” (1:12). They turned away from restoring their own lives, and focused on restoring the Temple. And the Lord told them, “I am with you” (1:13)— His Spirit would be among them (2:5), and He would provide them with peace and blessing (2:9–19).
God is still speaking to us the way He did to the remnant through Haggai.
Keep reading at GospelProject.com.