"Why is everyone saying it is not the right time for rebuilding my Temple?" asks the Lord.
His reply to them is this: "Is it then the right time for you to live in luxurious homes, when the Temple lies in ruins?"
Haggai 1: 2-4 (TLB)
Then the Lord told them (again sending the message through Haggai; his messenger), "I am with you; I will bless you." Haggai 1:13 (TLB)
Andrew Michael Ardoin lives in Louisiana. He had no reason to dislike this person - Andrew called him "that Christian" in his head - but they also didn't have anything in common. Andrew was 20 years older. He was a student. Andrew was a maintenance worker. He'd seen thousands of university students come and go. Very few ever spoke to him. But he did, several times. He even remembered Andrew's name. He told Andrew about Jesus and encouraged him to return to church.
"I need to get my life right before I go back to church," Andrew told him. "I'll do it later." Andrew didn't know if he believed him. Andrew didn't believe himself.
He must have graduated because Andrew eventually stopped seeing him around campus. That was 30 years ago, but Andrew never forgot his encouragement. In time, Andrew did return to church, and he is glad he did. But Andrew continued to wonder, What blessings did I miss because my faith was a low priority?
Andrew reminds himself that religion is not a transaction. Even when we ignore God's presence, God loves us regardless. But a relationship with God does require our response. When the Israelites answered, God affirmed, "I am with you." Now, through Christ, God is always with us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your unconditional love. Empower us to respond by growing in relationship with you, in Jesus' name. Amen.