Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Bible on Procrastination

Do you put off onerous or overwhelming projects? Carry out tons of tiny "things to do" rather than tackle the one thing you really need to do? Today's first reading is for you, my friend and fellow procrastinator! I'll bet you didn't know that the prophet Haggai had a message for us, but it's there.
Haggai was actually preaching to the governor and religious leaders of the people in post-exile Jerusalem. The Jews had been forced out of their land and into "Babylon" (yes, Iraq), and when Persia (that is, Iran) conquered Babylon, the new Kings decided to let the Jews go home. They even assigned tax revenues to help rebuild the famous Temple! That is what the delay was about, although it doesn’t actually get clear until tomorrow.
Today Haggai just exhorts the leaders to get to work so that God might "find pleasure" in the house and receive his due glory there. Actually, Haggai says, "Your own homes are rebuilt, right down to the paneled walls, and it still 'isn't time to rebuild the Temple'?!" But tomorrow the whole truth comes out. The new Temple will never measure up to Solomon's. The people are disheartened. Why put all that effort into something that will turn out so embarrassingly puny and plain? And tomorrow we will hear God's wonderful promise: puny and plain it may be, but "greater will be the future glory of this house than before, and in this house I will give you peace."
Sort of makes you want to start working. Almost.

No comments: