The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, April 27, 2022 comes to us from Dianne Fegan of Queensland, Australia
3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?" 5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the Lord. 9 "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the Lord Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands." Haggai 1:3-11 NIV
“Rebuilding God’s House”
My church has recently undergone a split where about half of the congregation has left for a variety of reasons ranging from doctrinal disagreements to personality differences. In today’s reading Haggai challenged the governor and the high priest about their priorities. The temple that had been demolished by the Babylonians when Judah went into exile had lain in ruins ever since. Then Haggai intervened. These verses challenged me regarding the situation of my church. Amidst the rubble of hurt, questions, and doubt there is also a sense of growth and rebuilding. So I asked myself, “How can I be involved in rebuilding our congregation?” I can participate in the many prayer sessions, Bible studies, and activities. I can invite friends to come with me and to share Christ with others more often. I can offer a positive outlook when negativity emerges, and I can support our pastors. When we are willing to participate in rebuilding rather than simply attending to our own desires, we can rebuild our church -- renewing our faith in the process.
Dianne Fegan calls all of us to remember that our task as Christians is to maintain a positive attitude and work to build up the Beloved Community. What can we do to rebuild the congregation where we live? Who needs to hear our message about God’s love? Which activities call us to participate? Even in the face of unpleasant conflicts, can we find ways to offer God’s love, even for those with whom we disagree?
Dear Father, help us to focus on you today and what you would have us do to bring renewed life to your beloved community on earth. Amen.
Churches facing internal conflict
Thought for the Day:
How will I participate in building God’s beloved community today?