The Callaway rule of camping:  Leave a place better than the way you found it.  My husband would say this often as we took down our tent camper and began to pack our supplies while cleaning the space we rented for a time.  We did leave it better than the way we found it.  No trash in the brush or on ground, no fires going but put out, anything out of place by us put back in place and nothing left behind that would be in the way of the next campers.

When it is time to take down our tents and leave earth, what will we leave behind?  Faith or foolishness?  God’s glory seen in us or a mess for others to clean up? 

Haggai 2, The Message

This Temple Will End Up Better Than It Started Out

1-3 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the Word of God came through the prophet Haggai: “Tell Governor Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and High Priest Joshua son of Jehozadak and all the people: ‘Is there anyone here who saw the Temple the way it used to be, all glorious? And what do you see now? Not much, right?

4-5 “‘So get to work, Zerubbabel!’—God is speaking.

“‘Get to work, Joshua son of Jehozadak—high priest!’

“‘Get to work, all you people!’—God is speaking.

“‘Yes, get to work! For I am with you.’ The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is speaking! ‘Put into action the word I covenanted with you when you left Egypt. I’m living and breathing among you right now. Don’t be timid. Don’t hold back.’

6-7 This is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies said: ‘Before you know it, I will shake up sky and earth, ocean and fields. And I’ll shake down all the godless nations. They’ll bring bushels of wealth and I will fill this Temple with splendor.’ God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so.

    ‘I own the silver,
    I own the gold.’
        Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

“‘This Temple is going to end up far better than it started out, a glorious beginning but an even more glorious finish: a place in which I will hand out wholeness and holiness.’ Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.”

* * *

10-12 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month (again, this was in the second year of Darius), God’s Message came to Haggai: “God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks: Consult the priests for a ruling. If someone carries a piece of sacred meat in his pocket, meat that is set apart for sacrifice on the altar, and the pocket touches a loaf of bread, a dish of stew, a bottle of wine or oil, or any other food, will these foods be made holy by such contact?”

The priests said, “No.”

13 Then Haggai said, “How about someone who is contaminated by touching a corpse—if that person touches one of these foods, will it be contaminated?”

The priests said, “Yes, it will be contaminated.”

14 Then Haggai said, “‘So, this people is contaminated. Their nation is contaminated. Everything they do is contaminated. Whatever they do for me is contaminated.’ God says so.

15-17 “‘Think back. Before you set out to lay the first foundation stones for the rebuilding of my Temple, how did it go with you? Isn’t it true that your foot-dragging, halfhearted efforts at rebuilding the Temple of God were reflected in a sluggish, halfway return on your crops—half the grain you were used to getting, half the wine? I hit you with drought and blight and hail. Everything you were doing got hit. But it didn’t seem to faze you. You continued to ignore me.’ God’s Decree.

18-19 “‘Now think ahead from this same date—this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Think ahead from when the Temple rebuilding was launched. Has anything in your fields—vine, fig tree, pomegranate, olive tree—failed to flourish? From now on you can count on a blessing.’”

* * *

20-21 God’s Message came a second time to Haggai on that most memorable day, the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month: “Speak to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah:

21-23 “‘I am about to shake up everything, to turn everything upside down and start over from top to bottom—overthrow governments, destroy foreign powers, dismantle the world of weapons and armaments, throw armies into confusion, so that they end up killing one another. And on that day’”—this is God’s Message—“‘I will take you, O Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, as my personal servant and I will set you as a signet ring, the sign of my sovereign presence and authority. I’ve looked over the field and chosen you for this work.’” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.


“Camp” on the comments of Max Lucado this morning:

“Twenty years passed since Israel’s return from Babylon. But the people quickly forgot the lessons exile had taught them. They worked hard, but their crops failed. They earned money, but it was never enough.

Sometimes having much can make people lose track of what is most important. Are you “rich in this present age”? If you have the resources and education to read this Bible, you are.

The abundance of possessions has a way of eclipsing God, no matter how meager those possessions may be. There is a predictable progression from poverty to pride. The poor man prays and works; God hears and blesses. The humble man becomes rich and forgets God. The faithful, poor man becomes the proud, rich man. As God said through Hosea, “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me” (Hos 13:6). The proud, rich man falls under God’s judgment. How can we avoid this? How can a person survive prosperity?

Do not be haughty. Do not think for a moment that you had anything to do with your accumulation. Scripture makes one thing clear. Your stocks, cash, and 401(k)? They are not yours.

“To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14).

“Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all” (1Chronicles 29:11).

“ ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty” (Haggai 2:8).  –Max Lucado, Encouraging Word Bible

God gives.  God trust us to manage what He gives us.  Will we leave earth better than the way we entered it when God brought us into the world from our mother’s womb? Did we accept Jesus, to live a better life with Him?  Did we obey the direction and help from His Holy Spirit?  May we pause to reflect, to hear with a listening, repentant heart what God has to say. Only then will be leave earth a better person than when we came.

Are we, like God’s Chosen, a bit sluggish in our obedience to God?  Then it is time to get to work, in Jesus Name, by His direction, for His glory!  That’s how we leave earth, our temporary camping ground, better than the way we found it! 

“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” 2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT


Help us be the best stewards of all you have given us to manage.  Help us to restore and rebuild all that is broken within us and around us by turning ALL of who we are over to your direction.  You know what is best for each one of us to grow in our love for you and for others.  Make us whole and holy before you. 

In Jesus Name, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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