Promise of Presence

Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of God’s people began to obey the message from the Lord their God. When they heard the words of the prophet Haggai, whom the Lord their God had sent, the people feared the Lord. Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you, says the Lord!”
Haggai 1:12-13 New Living Translation

Do you ever notice how much easier it is to work on a project when you have someone with you to help? It is especially helpful when the person who is helping you is someone you look up to and admire. A friend once told a story of two supervisors he had at his high school summer job digging trenches. The one supervisor would drive up when the crew was on a break and complain that they were not working hard enough. He would then take up a shovel and dig for about 15 minutes to show how easy the job was and drive off. The second supervisor stayed with them the whole time. He worked alongside them and recognized when the heat of the day was getting to them and they needed to rest. Needless to say, my friend and his coworkers were more motivated by the second supervisor because they knew he would be with them the whole time.

After God chastised the people of Judah for letting their work on the temple slide for sixty years, they responded by getting back to the job. As they began to work again, God gave them a promise that would encourage them and restore their zeal for the work. He said, “I will be with you.” His promise was to be with them through all the challenges of completing this job. Even when He had withheld His protection of their crops because of their misplaced priorities, He was still with them. He was wooing them back to a healthier relationship with Him.

As followers of Jesus, we also have been giving a job. In a way, it is similar to the job given to the people of Judah during the time of Haggai. Instead of building a physical temple, though, we are building a spiritual temple made up of people from every culture and nation that can be a place where God’s Spirit dwells. Jesus told His disciples (and us through them) that their job was to make disciples wherever they go and through whatever activities they do. We carry that same mission in our hearts today. No matter where we go and what we are doing at the time, our primary focus in life is to help others learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus. As we do this, we will experience challenges and opposition along the way. Still, Jesus made a similar promise of His presence being with us in the task to encourage us during the hard times. His promise to us is, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

Jesus, thank you that you have promised that you would always be with us as we go about the business of making disciples of You. Help us to keep our focus on You, even when we face opposition.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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