“You’ll need to be at the school board meeting tonight,” the principal announced. It was a reminder to teachers Barbara and Lisa of their 24-7 commitment as both single moms and teachers in their isolated rural community. The children would be home alone, but the meeting was only 40 yards from their homes.
Barbara rounded up her two sons and Lisa’s daughter to review the rules. “Your mom and I will be at the board meeting. It’s just over at the cafeteria. All of you can watch cartoons and play with your toys. DON’T come to the cafeteria unless there is an emergency. Remember what an emergency is?” Barbara quizzed her sons, who were 8 and 9, and Lisa’s daughter, Marie, also 8.
“Somebody gets sick or hurt,” Rick told his mom.
“A pipe breaks,” her older son, Sam, added.
“Fire,” Marie quipped.
“Great!” she assured them, leaving the three children to play together.
An hour later, pajama-clad Rick tiptoed up to his mother, Barbara.
Barbara’s neck hair pricked in panic! She was terrified of what crisis would bring him here!
Her frantic thoughts dissolved when Rick whispered,
“Mom, where is the popcorn cooker?”
It was, however, a testimony to their close relationship as a family that even small child “emergencies” warranted two-way communication. As in all close relationships, the family knew that communicating continuously–talking as well as listening–are necessary.
How would you evaluate your two-way communication with God? Is it only in the case of an emergency? Is it only one way? Do you read His word to hear His voice? An essential element in the relationship with God is to honor him with communication, including listening.
In the time of Haggai, the people called to rebuild God’s Temple grew tired of the effort after a time. Too much overtime? No benefits? They wore out all their sandals walking in the rubble? We don’t know. But they made a decision to put themselves first and ignore God. That included shutting down communication with Him. The volunteers went home to their own honey-do lists. Working on their own houses, they put God on the back burner. He wasn’t pleased. The result was little to eat, few warm clothes and not enough money.
God offered to change the order of things if they would honor him first. “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, [The Temple] so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD [Haggai 1:7 NIV]. He explained they expected much and got little because they did not honor Him. God assured them blessings would come if they would listen and do what He asked.
What does that message mean to us 2500 years later? That God’s promises are unchanged. Keep close communication with Him. Don’t just wait for an emergency. Pray and listen. Do what he asks you to do.
What’s in it for you? A close, loving relationship that spans forever and is full of many blessings.
What could be better than that!
[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, buttontogod.dev. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]