Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Curse of Too Much and Not Enough

One day when I was in college, I woke up late.  I never, EVER skip breakfast, but I knew I wasn’t going to have time to go to the cafeteria.  I looked in our mini-fridge: All we had was a jar of mangoes that had been around since the Carter Administration.  There was a vending machine on the way to my class.  I checked my little change bowl, and there was about a buck-fifty, just enough for a package of donuts and a carton of milk.  Not exactly the breakfast of champions, but better than an empty stomach.  So I brushed my teeth, put some water on my bed-head, and took off.  But when I put my fifty cents into the machine (the cost of the donuts), nothing happened.  Nothing.  Not knowing what else to do, I put another two quarters in.  Again, the machine acted like I didn’t exist.  My indignation and lack of sleep then overrode any rational thought, and I put in my last two quarters.  Zip, zilch, nada.  I was crushed.  As I moped my way toward class, angry, tired and hungry, I ran into my roommate and best friend, Mike.  He asked, “How’s your day?”  “Terrible,” I said, then I proceeded to tell him my tale of woe.  After a couple of seconds, he started laughing.  He didn’t stop for a long time. Finally, wiping the tears from his eyes, he said, “So when the machine didn’t give you any donuts, your solution was to keep on feeding it quarters?”  I didn’t like Mike much at that point.  I bid him a rather unfriendly adieu and went to class.  I was very glad when lunchtime arrived, because I was truly hungry at that point.  But when I sat down at my usual table with my usual friends, they had all heard the story--and wanted to hear me tell it myself--of how I kept putting quarters into a broken vending machine.  I still didn’t see the humor in the situation. 

If Haggai heard my story, he might say that God’s people in his day were making the same mistake I made.  They kept sticking their quarters into a machine that didn’t work.  Only he wouldn’t have found it as funny as my friends did.  If Haggai spent some time here with you and me, he might say we’re making the same mistake.  Think about it for a moment: Imagine that life is a vending machine.  You’re putting everything you have into that machine; not quarters, but time, sweat, hopes, dreams, resources…and you’re not getting anything back.  If the machine was broken, wouldn’t you want to know it?  If there was a better way, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you about it?  Sunday, we’re going to look at what Haggai said to God’s people long ago (Haggai 1:1-11).  We’ll see how His words apply to us today.  And we’ll look at the solution Jesus offers to our problem.

1 comment:

Priscilla Cruz said...

When I read such a good writing, I wish I was in Houston to listen you preaching. I really like your church!

I am really curious about what you guys discussed that day.