October 5: Comparison Can Paralyze

Read Haggai 2:1-9

Can you picture the final appearance of a remodeling or painting project? I’m can’t! My wife is able to get the little paint thingy (what do they call those things, anyway — a swatch?) from Lowe’s and somehow picture what it will look like all over the living room wall.

That doesn’t work for me.

Apparently, there were some people like my wife involved in the temple reconstruction project back in 520 BC. With four weeks of building under their belts, some were now beginning to have a feel for how the final project would look. Here’s the way it reads in verse 3: “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?”

Some of the senior saints could remember. Others had heard stories of the previous, huge, ornate temple with its stunning cedar wood, detailed engravings, bronze columns, and gold and silver objects. Even though they were far from being finished, it seemed clear that the temple they were building would pale in comparison to the original! That was discouraging.

Comparison can be dangerous! Ever felt like your contribution to God’s work is comparatively insignificant? When the offering plate is passed, you are embarrassed by your two mites in comparison with what you are sure must be much larger gifts! With 5000 to feed, you feel like you show up with 5 loaves and 2 fish that won’t make much of a dent in the need!

Those experiences can be discouraging until we remember that Jesus is pleased with those who, in spite of limited resources, give the mites. He can take a lunch suited for a couple of people and multiply it to feed a multitude.

Rather than keeping the focus on their perception of the insignificance of their project, the Spirit of God told the builders to “be strong” and “work” (v. 4). Keep at it! In fact, He motivated them with the assurance that He was with them and that they could not yet fully see the glory of the project they were working on (vv. 5, 9).

Those are great reasons to keep at it!


About sbk

I am a follower of Jesus. I've been blessed with 33+ years of marriage to my best friend, Celeste. We have two adult sons, two daughters-in-law, a daughter in high school, and two grandsons. I am part of an awesome family of God: Grace Church in Wooster, Ohio. www.woostergrace.org
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