In Haggai 1:3-11, Haggai declares the word of the Lord to the Israelites. They had come back from the Babylonian exile and the top thing on God’s priority list was that they reclaim Jerusalem by rebuilding the walls and mostly, the Temple–the apple of God’s eye. What do they do instead? They spent their time living in their paneled houses while His special house remained a ruin.
As a result, God told them that they expected much but it turned out to be little and what they did get blew away. The planed much and harvested little. That ate but never got their fill. Why? Because they hadn’t put God first. They put their money into purses with holes in them.
You’ve probably had that feeling of never getting ahead financially, of working hard but having nothing to show for it. No matter how much you bring home, it doesn’t cover the bills and leave much to play with. Instead of getting ahead, you only get behind and the credit card totals pile up. Your pockets seem to have holes and it’s getting old.
If this sounds like your life, stop and honestly ponder. Are you like the Israelites who were not putting God and His interests first? Would God say this to you?
In Matthew 16:23 Jesus rebuked Peter when Peter said Jesus would never go to the cross. Jesus bluntly replied “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” When we put our vacations, retirement plans, newest widget, or kid’s education funds ahead of the kingdom of God, we’ll never get ahead. We’re seeking first our kingdom with a very small k, in lieu of seeking God’s Kingdom with a very capital K.
In contrast, Luke 12:27-34 Jesus urged His followers to “provide purses for themselves that will not Purses without holes, ones that don’t wear out.
How do we do this?
We start by tithing. Randy Alcorn reminds us that it is the floor of our giving, not our ceiling. It’s a starting point. Once we begin to tithe, the ship turns around. We start to get ahead. Things stop breaking down and money comes in unexpectedly from all kinds of places.
We view our money as God’s money and we’re just the UPS guy that delivers the packages. We don’t keep them. That means the 10% doesn’t belong to God and the other 90 to us. It’s all His, so we need to seek God on how to allocate what we have.
We invest in spiritual things that are eternal, not earthly things that are going to burn or rot in the end. When we begin to do that, our heart changes. Where our treasure is, our hearts follow. So if I start to support a missionary that is planting churches in a unreached village, my prayers go with my check. Pretty soon I can’t stop praying for them and I even want to go and visit them. Soon I quit going shopping for a hobby, buying things I don’t need so I can have more to give. My heart isn’t on stuff anymore, it’s on making disciples of all nations and how I can do that.
We cultivate an eternal perspective with not just our money, but our time, gifts and resources. We say along with CT Studd “Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Then we begin to change our priorities to spend more time on finding people to minister to, more time listening to God and being in His Word and in prayer, and we stop wasting our time on trivial pursuits that are really self serving.
One day Jesus is going to come back and we will stand before Him and give an account of what we have done, according to 2 Corinthians 5:7. When we have lived our short lives making for ourselves purses that will not wear out by seeking first God’s kingdom instead of our own, it’ll be a glad day.