Give Careful Thought

  • Sept. 10, 2018
  • #9486

The Bible says we are not satisfied despite the abundance all around us. We need to give careful thought to our ways and look to Jesus as the source of happiness.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with of very unusual Bible verse.

It’s from the book of Haggai Chapter 1, verses 5-7, and this is how it goes, "Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have 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.' This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways.'" Yes, it’s an unusual verse, but it is still very relevant for our times. Because think of it: We have our ranch-style homes and unemployment insurance, three meals a day on the table, and supermarket double coupons, if not food stamps, but isn't it odd how we still want more? If we're single, we want marriage. If we're married, we want the perfect spouse. If we have the perfect mate, we want the time to enjoy life. We are a lot like that verse in the book of Haggai. We eat but never have enough; we drink but are never filled. We insist we do not have enough.

But other times we have too much; too many sky high medical bills. Fourteen visits to the Mayo Clinic and eight surgeries. A stroke renders our husband speechless or chromosomes disable our grandchild. The funeral was yesterday and we wonder how we are going to face the future alone. We are baffled at why the abundant life seems to elude us and land easily in the laps of others. In short, we want what we do not have. And we have what we do not want. And we are unhappy. Why is it our human nature never seems satisfied? No matter how lean or large life seems. Why aren’t we satisfied?

Well, when God tells us twice in Haggai Chapter 1 to give careful thought to our ways, He is telling us to thoroughly examine our perspective on life, as well as our life-style. First Peter 4:3 warns, "For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do." Yep, I’m afraid that’s us. We were all about doing what the world does: collecting stuff. As Christians we need to learn that Christ is our sufficiency. I like the way Proverbs 19 puts it; the 23rd verse says, "The fear of the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content." Right there in that verse, you have the answer for our human nature that is always unsatisfied. Fear the Lord. Humble your hearts before the Almighty. Realize he holds everything in his possession, and you, without him, have zilch. That’s what fear of the Lord looks like. When our orientation toward God is right, then it’ll lead to life that satisfies. Life in which one can rest content, as the proverb says. (And you know, Ken Tada and I felt exactly like that when we got rid of all the junk in our storage rental unit and quit paying monthly fees on a lot of old stuff collecting dust that we know we will never ever use). So today, join Ken and me in giving careful thought to your ways. And if you feel you have what you do not want, or you want what you do not have, then ask the Holy Spirit to show you His way, as well as show you a healthy fear of the Lord. Ask God to show you what real life is all about, and how you might rest content in Him. After all, Jesus is the source of our happiness, not the things that we accumulate or the things we feel we must have. May we rest content in Christ as we follow the advice of the prophet Haggai and give careful thought to our ways.

© Joni and Friends

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