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Christian Union
July 15, 2019
Laurel Copp
Christian Union Ministry Fellow at Brown


Have you ever found yourself lost on the internet? After 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or maybe even an hour, you catch yourself and wonder, “How was I able to waste so much time without even thinking about it?” For me, it is on Etsy or Pinterest browsing ideas for decorating my house -- and poof -- 30 minutes are gone.

I am not alone in wasting time decorating my house. In a little book called Haggai, at the end of the Old Testament, God raises up a prophet to tell the Israelites that they are wasting their time paneling their houses instead of rebuilding the Temple, and God is not pleased (Haggai 1:2-11).

Take a minute to think about the backdrop of the book of Haggai: God brought a remnant of Israelites, who had been in exile, back to their land -- the Promised Land -- so they could rebuild the Temple, worship and obey Him, and again be a witness and a blessing to the rest of the world.  But they are distracted by building their own homes and never actually rebuild the Temple. Time goes by. The Israelites are living in beautifully paneled houses, but the Temple is in ruins. So God calls them to repent and obey! But, that is not all. God sent a message through the prophet Haggai to the Israelites saying, “I am with you!” (1:13)

As we seek God’s face, praying and fasting, and longing to see God act tangibly in our world, the book of Haggai tells us two important truths:

1.      We need to repent and obey God.

2.      God is with us, enabling us to do just this!

Have you found yourself today, this week, or this year, building your own house? Haggai tells us that this all will come to nothing if we are not first attending to God and His will, seeking first His kingdom.

Matthew 6 adds another aspect to the message of Haggai. Jesus tells His disciples not to be anxious, not to worry about what they will eat, drink, or wear, because God knows that they need these things. Rather, instead seek His kingdom, and then God will provide these things for you.

Spend some time repenting of your own kingdom-building tendencies. Turn to God and trust Him to be with you, enabling you to seek and build His kingdom!  

Laurel2018Laurel Copp is a Christian Union Ministry Fellow, working with students at Brown University.

Laurel graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with a Master of Arts degree in Theology as well as a Master of Arts in Old Testament. She has taught Bible and theology at Portsmouth Christian Academy and at Gordon College. During that time she also developed a new ministry to reach out to women in the sex industry. Laurel is interested in the intersection of faith and life, particularly how the Gospel informs and drives our involvement in culture and issues of justice.

Laurel is married to Chip, and they have two young daughters, Evalyn and Phoebe.
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