Work Slowdown

Mark Fackler

READ : Zechariah 1:1-6

Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you. (v. 3)

In the recent film The Waitress, Jenna is an attractive young woman caught in a dead-end career and loveless marriage. Andy Griffith plays Ol’ Joe, whose advice to her is astonishingly brief: “Start fresh.” That’s simple advice, but so difficult to do.

Start fresh, the prophet says. Don’t let old ways govern tomorrow. Don’t imagine that yesterday’s mistakes mean today is ruined. Don’t give up hope.

God is angry at sin, yes indeed. Let’s accept that without sugar-coating. Our jealousies, rebellions, and pride are not ho-hum, “business-as-usual” with God. God had a special reason for anger in Zechariah’s day. The people of Jerusalem cared more about their own houses than about God’s house. Housing was going up in a rebuilt Jerusalem, but no house for God. Zechariah detected indifference and apathy—total ingratitude for God’s role in the exiles’ return. The Israelites must repent.

We need to break the icy stalemate too. We have put God off. We’ll pray a while—tomorrow. Worship? Maybe—if we’re up for it. Give a little, if we have change in our pockets. Before anything else, we must put God first. If that means clearing our schedules, setting a time for prayer, helping on a committee, tithing, or regular worship, the time to start fresh is today.

PRAYER

Lord, help me put you—your will, your kingdom—first.