Today we continue with our series on being little heroes with little power in a big and scary world taken from the Book of Haggai chapter 2
If you missed any of the earlier portions of this series they can be found at
Now let’s get on with today’s thoughts:
the idea that we must “chazaq” or be strong in the Lord (from Little Heroes Big World Pt. 4) leads naturally to the next part of Haggai’s advice to us as little heroes with little power in a big world. If we are to be strong in a practical sense then: We have to work
Haggai says, “Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Haggai 2:5
One of the dangerous extremes some Christians fall into is believing that because salvation is through grace alone by faith alone that good works play no part whatsoever in the Christian’s life. Nothing could be further from through. Paul the apostle said, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10
You see it is not works that save us. It is grace that saves us through faith but when grace comes it saves us not from works but to works. Good works, Kingdom of God works won’t save you; they are a part, a result of, a by-product of your salvation. You are saved from sin and you are saved to do good works. There is a work you are to do in order to fulfill the plan of God in your life.
Our church has had lots of funerals lately. One of the side effects of having lots of funerals is you have a lot of opportunities to talk about eternity with a lot of people you would never have the opportunity otherwise. I was speaking with someone at one of the funeral luncheons recently and I had the opportunity to share about Christ and his work on the cross.
At some point in our conversation I came to the point where I told the man, “Christianity is not really about what God does with us but about what we do with God. You see Christ died for us on the cross to restore relationship between us and God and with His dying breath he said, ‘It is finished.’”
I explained to the man, “You see Christ’s work is done. He has done everything he can to restore relationship with us. Whether or not that relationship is restored is no longer up to Him because He has done everything he can do. The rest is up to us. It is about what we do with God, about what we do with Jesus Christ. Will we accept his death and ask forgiveness for our sins and receive the gift of salvation or will we keep trying to impress God with our own works trying to reach God without going to Jesus? Or worse yet, will we just ignore God and pretend He doesn’t exist denying we have any sin?”
You see our salvation is dependent on what we decide to do about God. Likewise our success in carrying out God’s plan for life will depend on what we decide to do in regards to that plan.
So many people look at the plans God gives them and then look at what they can do to move towards those plans and they say, “What I can do will never be enough to fulfill God’s plan so I just won’t do anything.”
For Instance, God may have said to you “My plan is to get you out of debt.”
You may look at it and say, “Lord I owe $70,000.00 and I am out of work.”
Does God then say, “Oh that’s right. I forgot about the $70,000.00 thing. Oh well plan B I guess?”
No! He says, “Child my plan is to get you out of debt.”
So typically this is when we say, “OK God lay it on me.”
That is just about the time, an opportunity opens up at McDonald’s to work at minimum wage and we might say something like, “Wow that’s not big enough. I’m not taking the job.”
Can I just encourage you Haggai didn’t say “work if the job you want or the job you need is offered.” He said, “Work.”
Of course the job isn’t enough to meet the need. It never is. Of course the work isn’t going to provide the answer. It never does. God’s plans aren’t about what you can do. They are about what you and God can do together. You are not working at this thing alone. God is working with you and He is going to make up the slack that you can’t provide for, but make no mistake He is not going to do your part. If God’s plans fail in your life it will not be because God did not do His part but because you did not do yours.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.