Truly there’s nothing glamorous for those who work in construction. It is messy and tiresome, especially when only a few of the laborers show up. It can ‘seem’ as though the build will never come together.
It’s pretty much the same way when it comes to building for the Lord. Not many seem to show up for the building project. The most essential people to the work initially, are the foundation builders, which are the apostles and prophets. They must be sure to lay the course of living stones as set by the Cornerstone Himself. Because there can be no foundation laid other than what has been laid by the Lord Jesus Christ. So, we can’t have folks trying to establish other foundation plans, or trying to raise up something that looks different than what the Lord has intended. We need these ‘essential workers’ first!
I’m sure you’re seeing and hearing some of the same things that I am. There is a lot of talk among the Body of Christ about foundation building. But, it begs the question, “Why is it that folks won’t commit to the work of the Lord, but will spend long hours talking about it, and lots of time and money on their own houses and desires?” Why? Because folks want to take care of themselves first, before the Lord. We need more apostles and prophets who will step forward and start the building project that the Lord has called for. Apostles and prophets who will put the building of their own personal ministry and life aside and truly put the building up of God’s house first. His house being His people.
I’m afraid that some of us got this backwards! We thought, we should take care of all our personal stuff and individual ministries first, and then once that’s in order, we’ll step out and build the kingdom. We got this backwards!
But, if it’s any comfort at all, the people of God in the day of Haggai had it wrong, too! But God spoke right to this situation to draw their hearts back to Him and the building of His house, because He wanted to bless the latter house with a greater glory! We too, are promised the “greater glory”. But we need to return to the work before we will see it.
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” Haggai 1:2,3 NIV
“You first Lord, “AFTER” me”, seems to be the carnal thought of the generations. We must repent of this “the-time-has-not-yet-come” mindset. It’s time to build now, dearly beloved of God. Yes, it’s NOW!
We need to put God and His Kingdom first. We can’t be preaching across our pulpits with a “seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you” message, while we ourselves are putting other things first. We need to come into divine order and truly put His ‘building project” first, which is His Body.
The ‘building up’ of which is a work that the Lord has commissioned those whom He has given any of the 5-fold ministry gifts, according to Ephesians chapter 4. All of the equipping and activating which Ephesians 4 speaks of is not merely the responsibility of one of the five ministry gifts, but of all the ministry gifts. Some folks in the ministry have just busied themselves with many other things and have not showed up for the work.
Here’s what the Lord spoke through Haggai about,
“Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Haggai 1:3,4 NIV
Again, at that time the house being referred to was a temple building, but now the temple is a house of His people, not for His people – but the house He wants to fill – that is us! We fast and pray and long to see the Lord move, but the Lord needs us, beginning with the five ministry gifts to put His building project first. It must begin to take priority over all else, if we are going to see Him move in the way we pray that He will.
If you have ever commissioned anyone to build a home for you, trust me, you want them to do what you commissioned them to do. Because it’s where you will be living! Consider that the Lord is great and His house is a great house. There is much work to do and those commissioned to do it must show up for the work!
We had a contractor build our home and he took his time doing it. In fact, he even started building another development in the midst of building this one, and abandoned the building on our home and others during that time. It was not pleasing to us, to say the least.
Without reservation I can say, “I know God wants His house built already!” He doesn’t want to continue to wait until we have done everything we want to do. He wants His house built! His people are His house.
“So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the [saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
God is calling first His apostles and prophets to the foundational work, the work which He Himself has already begun to lay, Himself being the chief cornerstone.
There must come an end to the delay of His building project which He has commissioned the apostles and prophets to undergird. It’s time to build! And it must begin with apostles and prophets using the building model we see in the New Testament, founded on the truth of His Word, with much teaching and admonition, much prayer and yes, even much hardship. He never said it was going to be an easy build! But it will be a glorious one when it’s done!
God is calling us, much like He called His people in the days of Haggai, to give careful consideration to our circumstances,
“Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 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.” Haggai 1:5,6 NIV
It’s uncanny the similarity between the circumstances of many today in the church and those of the people in the days of Haggai: Busy but unfruitful; eating and drinking but never full; and having much of nothing to show for all their me-first labors. God have mercy on us, and grant us to fear You, once again!
He is calling us to consider our ways according to what we know the scriptures to say, just as He did in the days of old. He is a “Me-first, God”, and not a “Me-first-after-you-God”.
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 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. “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.” Haggai 1:7-9 NIV
Imagine that? God blew away what they were sure would be an abundant harvest. He withheld dew, called for drought on the fields and mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the olive oil and everything else, even on all that they labored in doing. All their work which took precedence over what He commissioned them to do, was brought to nothing. Every dollar earned, disappearing as if they had holes in their pockets.
It’s time for apostles and prophets to come away from their labors which are apart from the work they are called to and ‘come together’ because it’s time to build His house!
He is saying, “Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” Yes! It’s time to apply ourselves to the work! He is saying, “Don’t you see how that by all accounts your life labors should produce much more for you than what you are seeing and receiving? But, they won’t produce because I won’t let it! Not until you go up to the mountains and bring down the timber and build My house!” Church, He is calling us to the work!
We cannot continue in the way that we have. His people by and large are not sound in doctrine, not strong in the faith and we need to fix that. There is much work to do! There is a remnant who are seasoned and others who are growing in their faith and in the knowledge of the Lord. But there are even more of His people who are not. If we think we ought to be seeing more of the Lord’s Presence and power than we have been seeing, it’s surely because we have not put Him and His Kingdom first.
I am so thankful that the Lord doesn’t leave us to our own devices. Aren’t you? He is so good, always pursuing us and drawing us back to Himself. He is continuously offering us hope! He is saying to us, “You may look at the house now and consider that the glory of it seems to be like nothing. But the glory of this present house will be far greater than the glory of the former house! AND He will grant peace, too! But not until there is a whole lot of shaking!”
Here’s what He said through Haggai, as He spoke to ‘the remnant’,
“‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”” Haggai 2:3, 6-9 (NIV)
This promise is for us, if we put Him and His work first! Only then will we see a good return on all our labors. Our fields will produce; our land will flourish; and the harvest we seek will not be blown away. There will be plenty of anointing and new wine! Let’s commit to building up His house, which is His body. God first. Everything else comes second! Church, it’s time to build!