Am I building God’s kingdom or mine?

There is a big emphasis on creating a home that is purposeful and serves our families well these days. It’s a really good sentiment and something I’m thankful to be learning about because I want our home to reflect our values and glorify God as we raise kids here and invite people. I think it’s really important stuff.

But do you feel like you are doing all the right things, clearing out clutter, making the space inviting, hygging it up and still feeling empty? Do you feel like chaos still reigns even though white space abounds?

I read this passage in Haggai recently that gave me pause on this matter. 

“Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.’ This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,’ says the Lord. ‘You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.’ ” – Haggai 1:5-11

So this made me think, in what ways am I building my own kingdom more than God’s? Am I paying more attention to making my own home a place of worship (still for God of course!) before tending to the needs of the church? 

I don’t think this is saying that we need to neglect our home and spend all our time building (physically or otherwise) the church, but have we turned so inward that we have forgotten about the work that needs to be done outside the home?

Hear me say this, there is fruit in creating a home that points others to Jesus. But if my priority is pointing others to Jesus and I’m still insistent that it must happen in my home, then maybe my real goal is building my own kingdom. Here, I get the praise. I get the credit when people come and feel welcomed and loved. If I’m doing that at church, praise is more ambiguous and I’d rather it be clear and I’d rather it point directly at me. 

I’m studying 2 Timothy right now and Paul’s fervor for spreading the gospel is so singularly focused. He’s traveling to places and preaching constantly. He didn’t waste his life. I don’t want to waste my life either, but what does it look like for a white women in America with two kids and a business? How do I push beyond living for my own little plot of land and pursue the kingdom work God is calling me to?

I don’t have a cut and dry practical answer for all of us, but I do hope to challenge us all to be pursuing God’s plan beyond the four walls of our home.

And if I might be able to step on our toes a bit. I feel like we’re in an odd time in our history and maybe it’s always been like this, but it seems to be coming up more and more in conversation. There are lots of really faithful Christians that are neglecting the church and feel like they can do life apart from it.

  • “It’s not about a building.”
  • “It’s not about where you go on Sunday.”
  • “It’s too hard with kids.”
  • “I’m so distracted anyway, why bother.”

Going to church is not always comfortable. It’s not always convenient. When Tyler has deacon duty and leaves the house before the girls get up and I’m lugging two girls, a diaper bag, and my Bible all in heels in the rock-filled parking lot, it is not what I would call a lazy Sunday. But it’s so worth it. And really, how much of what God calls us to is convenient or easy? 

There may be short seasons where you step back a bit, but don’t let these temporary seasons (say, having a newborn) turn into months or even years. And I’m not simply saying this because we need the church. but the church needs you. Maybe the reason you stepped back is because you didn’t like the programming, the music, or the Bible study topics. Those issues might be issues for other people too and they aren’t fixed by having it’s members stop getting involved. So get involved. Be a part of the solution. You might just make it stronger and more effective for a whole generation coming up behind you. 

Alright, now let me give you a hug. I’m taking a beating too. I feel quite convicted that I like serving a certain way and that doesn’t usually include folding chairs and an auditorium but a porch and some tea. I’m asking the Lord to open my eyes to the opportunities that I’ve been neglecting and be OK if it’s outside my comfort zone. 

Have you been challenged by this thought before? Has the Lord pulled you from your comfortable space to something bigger/uncomfortable?