Priorities. Procrastination. God’s Presence.
1) Priorities. What are yours? Does your family have priorities? Is it a high priority to be part of the regular worship life of our congregation where God promises to be present in Word and Sacrament?
2) Procrastination. Do you tend to procrastinate? Sometimes we procrastinate our priority to be in God’s presence. We say things like, “When we have kids we’ll get our priorities straight.” Or, “When our kids are out of the house we’ll make it a priority to be active in worship/service again.” Or, “When I retire then I’ll have time and I’ll get life straightened out.” What about today??
3) God’s Presence. Do you know that God deeply desires to be present in your life? He wants to be present and have you acknowledge His presence in order that He can shower you with grace, love, and hope. But, often we’re too busy handling life on our own to realize it.
In Chapter 19, the unthinkable happens; King Cyrus of Persia issues a decree and the Israelites can return to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon. Not only that, but they get to rebuild their temple! The temple was the place that God guaranteed to be present for His people. It’s not that God wasn’t everywhere – because He was, and He is. It’s just that God knows people need something/someplace/someone physical to understand and comprehend who He is. The temple served this purpose in the Old Testament. And, in many ways, the gathering of God’s people in a church serves the same purpose today.
So – the people got to work. They were excited. King Cyrus even funded the whole thing. But they hit a few roadblocks. Some people were challenging their work permits (for lack of a better term). It became difficult. They only got part of it built, and then it sat idle. The project shut down. The people gave up and changed their priorities. Instead of building a house for God…they built themselves some very nice houses. It’s true. They were busy building their own beautiful houses while the house of God sat unfinished with weeds growing around it. FOR YEARS the project stalled.
Their priorities were backwards. Their procrastination to rebuild got the better of them. But God was still present through it all. And God was determined. He was determined that these people know He is with them always.
Eventually, through the prophets, God spurred them on and they got the job done.
Today: Consider your priorities. If your family has never written down or had a conversation about your priorities, now would be a great time. Are you procrastinating the priority to regularly engage in God’s presence?
I want to remind you that God is with you always wherever you are. He deeply desires to be with you. As His baptized children, He goes with you wherever you go. It is my heartfelt prayer for you that you would acknowledge His presence and set a priority to gather together regularly to hear His Word and receive His Sacraments. His presence is His gift to you.
Alive in Christ!
Watch this week’s sermon: