READ : Haggai
Those who returned from the exile were the cream of the crop. Those more interested in continuing their successful businesses stayed in Babylon. Those who returned did so because they had a spiritual vision, to rebuild the temple of the Lord. But soon they were faced with problems which caused them to give up on completing the building of the temple. So they settled down and built themselves houses which were increasingly luxurious. Haggai and Zechariah were two prophets sent by God to inspire them to renew their vision, to put first things first, and to get back to building the house of God rather than their own houses.
Haggai’s argument is that because they had lost their vision, and centered on their own prosperity, God had withheld that prosperity from them. They had worked hard to get ahead but in vain. Haggai says this was because they did not have their priorities straight. Jesus said something similar, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33 ESV). The best way for us to prosper financially is to put God first in the use of our resources. Try it. It works.
As the temple was built, those who remembered Solomon’s temple were disappointed, but the prophet assured them this temple had a great future, and it did because Christ came to it.
Father, give us the grace to put your kingdom first in the use of our money, knowing you will bless so we can be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.