In 538 BC, King Cyrus decreed that the Jews could return to Jerusalem, and just a year later, they began work on rebuilding the temple. Fast forward fifteen years however, and the work has halted with only the foundations laid. At this point God steps in and sends the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to ‘encourage’ the people in their work.
Through Haggai, God speaks to the people who were saying “it’s not yet time to build the house of the Lord” and says, “Why are you living in such luxury, while my house lies in ruins?!”
But why should God care that His temple was not built? After all, He tells us that He does not live in temples made with hands (Acts 17:24). The point is this: The Jews had become more concerned with their own comforts than with doing the work that God had called them to do. This is so often true of us as Christians today. And just as is reported in Haggai, there is no satisfaction in just working for ourselves.
The NLT puts it that the Lord then ‘sparked the enthusiasm’ of the leaders & the people. What a great thing it is to be stirred up by God! He goes on to ask them to remember the former splendour of the temple and compare it to what was in front of them. Sometimes, we do need to remember where we have been in the past, it should motivate us to get back there.
He tells them “Be strong…and now, get to work!” This may not appear to be the best of management techniques! But He adds: “for I AM with you…so do not be afraid”. What more inspiration should we need than that as we go about doing God’s work in educating our children, He is with us, the best manager we could ever have.