This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.’” Haggai 1:2
We were flying back from Texas and I felt I should read Haggai so I turned there, not knowing that the topic was going to be property. The specific matter at hand in Israel was timing about a property improvement. God’s place needed some serious repair, and some were not in favor of it. God used this passage to highlight for me how those engaged in believing God for property for ministries, and sometimes even for homes, face common objections. There is “push back” from others that has two components: as God puts it to Haggai, “These people say…” We need the ability to discern the assumptions that underlie the “These people say…” statements so that we can speak truth and liberty into our own lives, and into the minds and hearts of others. We face an interesting dilemma when God wants us to give to something, and we don’t want to do so. We can either obey, or we need to create a reason why we are not giving.
One objection: the timing was not right. ‘The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.’ Earlier these same people had set to work on God’s house with gusto, but had faced political opposition, and so had retreated from the work. It is easy for me to start well on a kingdom initiative, but when opposition comes I can do what the inhabitants of Israel did: retreat to my own project.
By the time Haggai comes to jump-start them back into God’s business, there was a conflict of interest: the people were building their own houses and didn’t want to divert resources to God’s work. There will always be those who look for an excuse to not jump on board with what God is doing and say, in defense of themselves, ‘It is not the right timing.’ What they imply is, ‘If it was the right timing, of course, I would give to God.’
I summarized the gist of Haggai’s message as I flew back to the Bay Area. ‘Some are saying that it is not time to get a property, yet they spend their time and money on making their own houses or apartments fancy, while My work is under-resourced. This is why you have not blessed their work or finances. Lay the foundation of my house this June, then I will bless your lives and finances.’
We can get behind God if we like, and we can choose not to. He will not be left short of resources even if we do not give. “The silver is mine and the gold is mine” declares the Lord. Yet God gives us a chance to partner with him for our benefit.
Let’s test our hearts lest we say, “This is not the right time for a campus for rēp – we should rather focus on…” for in this statement can be a personal agenda to protect our own nest egg while we keep God and his agenda on pause.