Updated: Sep 6, 2022
‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ Haggai 2:3-5
One of the things I enjoy is reading articles written by successful people on lessons they’ve learned over the years. Last week I read a post titled “Forget motivation—how to succeed (even when you’re ready to quit).” The gist of the article is that goals and excitement only take you so far. The real key to success is to keep showing up and trying, even when your motivation has run out. He goes on to say that when we read success stories, people skip the boring parts in the middle and jump to the end, but he argues that the habit of showing up every day and trying, learning from failures, and trying again is the real key for success. It usually gets left out of the recap at the end, but it was what made success possible.
For those who were at Creekside this past Sunday, Pastor Mark walked us through the entire book of Haggai, and the contents of the book made me think of “just keep showing up.” Haggai is set after the first group of Israelites returns from captivity in Babylon. They rebuilt their own homes but have done nothing to rebuild God’s Temple. The book begins with God criticizing them for this decision; they then repent and rebuild the Temple. As they ready to dedicate the new Temple, God points out that the rebuilt temple is “nothing” compared to the original Temple, but he is with them.
God was pleased with the prioritization to rebuild the Temple as He commanded. It wasn’t about how grand the physical building itself is. After all,
“the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?’” (Acts 7:48-50)
The point wasn’t that they hadn’t made a big enough or grand enough Temple for God, the point was that they hadn’t prioritized God. It was about their heart and actions, not the physical structure.
At Creekside, we say “we are a community where people: encounter Jesus, become like Jesus, and impact our world for Jesus.” If I’m honest, I don’t always feel like I’m becoming more like Jesus or having a significant impact for Jesus, but the trick is to “keep showing up.”
G.K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” To become like Jesus and impact the world for Jesus, we are going to have stretches that feel like we’re going nowhere. The trick is to keep trying and the results will eventually materialize if we’re faithful.