This morning during prayer I felt God showing me that Satan’s arrows of BUSYNESS (or distraction) and WRONG FOCUS are over the people of God. I heard the question I have heard many times before…
”What are you busy with?”
It brought me to a scripture that has been heavy on my heart for over a year now. In Haggai 1:4-6,9 it states:
“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.
“My my house that lies in ruins, while each of you BUSIES himself with his own house.
There are two things in this verse I want to focus on.
First: The arrow of BUSYNESS.
We see a people who are busy with their own houses: they are busy with their own homes, and yet, the house of God was in ruins.
I felt God was using this verse during my time in Uganda last year as a constant record player in my head. As I looked around I saw His house, His people, in ruins. I saw the destruction satan has made on homes, lives, and children. The poverty of the heart & sin, and also the physical poverty, orphans, street kids, and hunger, and over and over I would hear:
“My house is lying in ruins, what is everyone busy with?
While there are many good things, it seems we have lost our focus on the greater things.
HIS HOUSE HIS PEOPLE. HIS KINGDOM.
This is not to say we should never train for a marathon, workout, blog, scrapbook, spend money on a remodel, watch TV, spend time browsing on the internet, go on a vacation, (or whatever activity comes to mind when you think of what you spend your time doing) but it is to say that if our time, money, and focus are building OUR kingdom on this earth, there could be a problem.
If God is asking us what we are busy with, we need to look at our schedule and ask ourselves exactly that?
What do I spend my time on? Does it have an eternal value? When I die will any of it matter?
Is it making a kingdom difference in the life of another? Is it serving a greater purpose than myself?
While again, this isn’t to say we should never enjoy anything in our lives, God also commands us to “redeem the time because the days are evil” and we need to honestly reflect on what things may be distracting us and keeping us busy from the things that have eternal value.
Second: The arrow of WRONG FOCUS.
When I think of this arrow, it is MUCH more tricky. We all know that food, shelter, and paying the bills are vital to our life. We must be careful, however, that we don’t begin to develop a wrong focus where we unintentionally are driven by meeting our needs first, and we forget that our entire motivation should be based on meeting the needs of the kingdom.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…
“And why do you worry about clothes? …”if that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But “Seek first the KINGDOM OF GOD and His righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS will be added unto you”.
If our first motive for working or keeping a certain job is to pay bills and provide for ourselves, our focus is wrong. If our motive is to store up for our future first, our focus is wrong. We are commanded to seek (look after/ focus) HIS kingdom first, knowing that our daily bread, our most vital needs will be met when we do.
The slippery slope in making a living is that in our attempt to meet our needs, we never know quite where to stop. We begin to see our income as an opportunity not only to meet our most basic needs, but the extras as well. We end up spending our money on a lot of things BEFORE we concern ourselves with the kingdom and building HIS HOUSE. That is why our entire motivation in every job we have should be for the kingdom of God.
A good way to check our motivation is to ask ourselves: “What am I working for? So I can give more? So I can support His kingdom work on this earth?
In the verse in Haggai we see a people who never have enough.
“You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”
They want more. They are earning a living doing so to put it into a “bag with holes”.
This verse reminds me of the rich fool who has made a lot of money. (anyone who makes over $16,000 a year is in the top 16% in the world in wealth making almost all of us qualify as the RICH)
When he is thinking about what to do with all he has amassed, his first thought is HIMSELF: his kingdom on this earth: his home, life, pleasure, and how he will benefit from all his wealth.
He decides to build a bigger place to store up for HIMSELF and enjoy all he has laid up.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself: ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, “you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13-21
Are we, like the rich fool, busy with our own house, our own kingdom, our own homes and life, possessions, and pleasures, while not busy building FIRST into the kingdom of God?
I love a quote by Billy Graham that states: “give me 5 minutes with a mans pocket book and financial records. I will tell you where his heart is”. What does our pocket book reflect?
Satan’s arrows of busyness and wrong focus are all around us. They are tempting us to focus on many good things, but not the ONE thing that matters: His kingdom, His people, and His house on this earth.
May we be a people who can answer God’s question with “YOUR KINGDOM”.