In my last post I discussed how God does not need our money because He owns everything. This time we will consider the question, Do bank statements matter to God? According to Haggai 1, YES! Let me explain the background.

The kingdom of Israel was divided. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, foolishly listened to his “boys” instead of his dad’s advisors in an issue of labor. His advisors told him that if he rules more kindly to the laborers, he will keep them. His friends told him to be a man and act tough. He chose his friends, and the laborers (union?) revolted. In the uproar, the kingdom was divided. The laborers chose Jeroboam as their king and named their kingdom Israel. Rehoboam and his loyalists maintained the south and called their kingdom Judah. Because of their profound idolatry and sin, both kingdoms fell– Israel in the eighth century and Judah in the sixth B.C. The nation that conquered the people of Judah, Babylon, fell to the Medes and the Persians. God raised up King Darius, who in kindness allowed the people of Judah to return to their homeland for rebuilding the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. This is the context of Haggai 1.

In Haggai, God calls the people out: “These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD…Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies in ruins” (v.2, 4) The people had entered the land, but they did not work on the house of the LORD, using the excuse that it was not yet time. But they found ample time to work on their own condominiums! And with what materials? More than likely the materials that were supposed to be used for the temple!!

God, being so wise, says, “Consider your ways. you have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes…You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors” (v.5-6, 9-11).

They went on with their everyday lives, but God would not allow them to find satisfaction in their lives because his work was not done. To put it another way, God was not top priority in their lives, and he was not going to let them find satisfaction until he was number one. So their work produced mediocre results. Their meals were not filling. Their clothes kept them cold. Their income ran out. There was drought and famine until they turned again to God and his house. They must do so “that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD” (v.8). To alter a common saying, “If God ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Conversely, when God is happy, which only happens when His glory is displayed and treasured, we find the happiness that we long for.

So does your bank statement show that God is your number one priority? Do you support the work of the Lord? Do you use your money to work on the growth of his temple, which Paul says is both the individual believer and the believing community, the church (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16-17, 6:19-20; Eph. 2:19-22)? Do you support the work of missions, which is God’s work of finding more bricks from all nations for his mosaic temple? Whatever means more for you than this may be the dam keeping you from experiencing the ocean of joy God has for you.