Getting the Priorities Straight


In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest: “Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.” Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.” Haggai 1:1-11 ESV

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV


Jessie was a very spoiled rich girl, and all she really seemed to care about was enjoying herself. She did some wrong things until one day she ended up in jail. Her frustrated father said that he wished he’d never had a daughter because she’d caused him so much grief. Then Jessie’s fairy godmother came along and decided that this would actually be a good way to teach Jessie a lesson. The fairy godmother magically erased Jessie’s life, and then bailed her out of jail. Jessie went home to find that her father didn’t know her, and had never had a daughter, so she had to go to work as a maid. While she worked she got to know the other servants in the house, and over time she learned that the really important things in life aren’t being rich and having a good time, but rather things like love and friendship and hard work. Losing what she’d thought was the most important taught her what really was important.

As the years went by, the Jews started to lose sight of what was important to them. Their enemies had written a letter to the kind of Persia, who’d made them stop rebuilding the temple and the city of Jerusalem. But even when a new king Darius (not the same Darius who had thrown Daniel in the lion’s den) came to the throne, they didn’t try to start building again. They were busy building up the other towns of Judah and beautiful houses for themselves and getting their farms back in order. These weren’t bad things to do, but they showed that the people of Judah didn’t have their priorities straight anymore. They had stopped caring about their capital city and about the temple of the Lord. So God started to take away from them the things that they thought were more important. He sent a drought on the land so that the grain and olives and grapes weren’t growing well, and the people were becoming hungry and poor.

Jesus warns us not to worry about having treasure on this earth. Money and cars and nice houses and clothes are all good gifts from God, but when we care about them more than we care about God and his church, we don’t have our priorities straight. Jesus reminds us that all the good things in this world can be lost. We can lose our money and nice things if they get stolen, or if they get lost in disasters like fires and floods. But the things of God last forever. Jesus died on the cross to bring us into his heavenly kingdom, and the heavenly treasure of knowing God and his love for us is the greatest treasure of all. Jesus forgives us all our sins, including for loving his earthly blessings too much, and he helps us to love him back and to put him first in our lives.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the good gifts you give us. Help us to always know what is most important, and to love you more than anything else in this world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Jones, Amy Holden, dir. Maid to Order The Vista Organization, 1987, Film.