Priorities for the New Year

 

Early last year I listened to a sermon Boundless writer Thabiti Anyabwile preached from Haggai 1 titled “Priorities.” It came to mind in the last days of December as I began to consider what my New Year’s resolutions would be. Like with many of us and our resolutions, Thabiti said that the book of Haggai is “a good example of a people who start out with good intentions but drift.”

Having just returned from Babylonian exile, God instructed the Israelites to rebuild his temple. And though they began well, they soon became distracted by their own comfort, ceasing work on God’s house to build their own “paneled houses.” As a result, the heavens “withheld their dew and the earth its crops.” From his sermon notes, Thabiti writes:

Haggai charges the people to “give careful thought to your ways.” He also observed that they have “planted much but harvested little” –- their lack of satisfaction is evidence against them! Their labor was empty and vain because their priorities were wrong. There are few greater pains than those of a life marked by missed opportunities. Israel’s pain is common to all those who do not have God as their highest priority.

We all have our paneled houses that will tempt us to lose focus on the highest priority. Let us “give careful thought to” our New Year’s resolutions to see if our priority is God or our trappings.

 

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