Are you satisfied?
Think about that for a second. When you think back to your job and the money you’ve made, the food you’ve eaten today, your clothes.
I started really contemplating this question about a year ago. For the first time, I tried asking God what book in the Bible He wanted me to read through instead of just reading through whatever I thought seemed like it would be interesting. The answer I got was a strange one: Haggai.
So, Haggai isn’t one of the books people quote from all the time. It’s not one of the books you see cute little segments of on Pinterest, in curly letters in front of a scenic background. It’s one of those books you know is there, but…you know. Maybe one day you’ll read it, just to be able to say you did.
I thought about ignoring it, moving on to 2 Corinthians or Romans or one of the gospels. One of the relevant books.
But I figured there was a reason for this weird request from the God I claim to follow, so I went to the table of contents in my Bible and found the 1.5 page book.
My life changed that day.
As I read I came to verse 6 of chapter 1:
You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes.
I felt that in the deepest parts of my soul. Every single one of those things resonated with me, right down to the never being able to keep warm (it was starting to get cold out, and I’m always cold anyway). The amount I was putting into schoolwork wasn’t being “harvested” in my test scores. Food was never satisfying to me, so I got into the habit of binge-eating. I was making money at a job, but it was the opposite of fulfilling, and my money wasn’t stretching very far.
Verse 9 expands a little more.
You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you hurry off to your own houses.
This verse is literally talking about “God’s house,” the temple. The people of Judah had come up with every excuse possible to put off rebuilding it, and God was sick of waiting, so His attempts to get their attention got a little less subtle.
As I read, I wondered what that had to do with me. And then He whispered 1 Corinthians 6:19 to me:
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?
Not only that, but in Matthew 12:6 Jesus says, “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.” In John 2:19 he says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” This implies that He is the temple of the new covenant.
All this to say that, for application purposes, at least, the temple that Haggai 1:9 was referring to was the preeminence of Jesus in my life. At that point Jesus was kind of an afterthought, something I gave time to when it benefited me or helped my social life or I was going through something tough. The relationship was there, but it was in ruins…because of me.
Jesus never leaves us or distances Himself from us, you guys. If you’re feeling distant from Him, you might try taking a moment to examine your own heart before you get annoyed at Him for “leaving you.”
Another thing: Following Jesus isn’t just some catchy thing to say you do because you’re an American or you go to church every Sunday or your parents are Christians. Following Jesus is about asking Jesus where He wants you to go and then going there, moment by moment.
Once we start chasing after Him, we’re going to find more truth and hope and blessings than we could ever ask for.
Here’s what I’m not saying: I’m not saying that if you have a relationship with Jesus, He’s going to make you a lot of money or just in general give you a really comfortable life. What I am saying is that He is the source of all satisfaction and comfort and joy, and that without Him everything else is faded and empty.
Also, though, He is going to bless you with tangible things. When He is the center of your life and you’re spending time with Him and following Him in everything, you’re eventually going to learn how to be a good steward of the things He has already given you. He promised multiple times that when we are good stewards and faithful with little, we will be given more. Sometimes that’s money, sometimes it’s spiritual gifts, sometimes it’s wisdom. He will make sure you have enough. He kind of made money. And food. And everything else.
One last thing: this process takes work. Our relationship with Him is pretty much entirely because of Him and His mercy, but we need to respond and do our part. Here’s what Haggai 2:4b-5 says:
Take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My spirit abides among you; do not fear.
Did you catch that? His command is to work. And we can work confidently, knowing that it is never in vain. Whatever work He has called you to, you can know that it’s for a reason, that He is with you, and His spirit abides in you.
This entire process of unpacking what Haggai meant historically, as well as for me, changed everything. Jesus was no longer just a name to say when things were getting difficult. He was no longer reduced to a poster boy for a political party. He wasn’t a way to feel good about myself. He was the center, and I will forever struggle to make that truth a reality in my little world.
And you know what? I’m not a billionaire. I still get hungry and thirsty. I still have really difficult days. But as long as Jesus is my number one and only priority, I’m never unsatisfied.
My request is that you would take a minute to ask God what He wants you to do today and right now to build up His temple within you. It could change you forever.