Work! For I am with you. (Haggai 2:4)
Think for a moment about all the different ways a parent talks to a child in the course of a day. In the morning, she may firmly tell her grumbling child, “Get up! It’s time to go to school.” But by the end of the day, that same child may be in tears, prompting the parent to encourage her child gently, “I am so proud of you for getting through this hard day. You’re so strong!” All parents face a constant balancing act between pushing their children out of their comfort zones and offering them the encouragement and rest they need.
In today’s first reading, we hear how God speaks to his children, the people of Jerusalem, who are rebuilding the Temple. At the start of the passage, he issues a firm command: “Work!” But a few verses later, he offers this gentle word of encouragement: “I am with you.” He even promises them peace (Haggai 2:4, 9)! God knows that his children need both the firm command and the gentle reminder.
Like our children and like Judah, we, too, need God’s loving correction and discipline as well as gentle reminders of his love for us. Sometimes, we need him to push us so that we can get back on track. But there are also times when we need to hear him reminding us of his love and compassion toward us.
Who we are and the work that we are doing are both very important to the Lord. We are his beloved children, and we can spend every day helping him to build something far greater than a place of worship. We can build his kingdom! Caring for our families and friends, helping the poor, serving in the Church; being responsible employees, taking time to talk to God each day in prayer—these are just a few examples of how we build God’s kingdom, and God is delighted to see us busy doing them.
We are important to God, and so is what we are doing. With this in mind, we can take courage and work hard—because we know how deeply loved we are and that all our labor glorifies God.
“Father, thank you for giving me a role in establishing your kingdom. Help me to remember that I am building something glorious for you.”~WAU