Recently, I have been preaching from the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. The Minor Prophets are all those smaller books which we often flip past as we are trying to find the New Testament. They are called minor prophets because they are not as well known, and their books are usually much shorter than that of Isaiah or Ezekiel. However, they often have some powerful messages.
Haggai is one such example. Little is known about the guy, but he has always had a meaningful story to me. It seems that Haggai was a prophet after Cyrus the Persian conquered the city of Babylon in 538. Because of his famous decree, the Israelites were allowed to come back home and were even given some financial support to rebuild the temple that the Babylonians had torn down. However, as we read in Haggai that Darius is now king, we know that nearly 20 years have passed, and the temple has not been rebuilt. Eventually, Haggai will be the man who gets the job done and get the temple rebuilt.
I am often amazed by Haggai for two reasons. First, he was willing to dream big. Rebuilding the temple would have been an ambitious project, especially considering people were focused on putting their lives back together. While everyone was looking at just getting by, Haggai was dreaming big dreams. Second, I am amazed because Haggai was apparently up to the task of putting in the hard work that would be needed to rebuild. As the text shows, he kept at it when everyone else was giving up on the project. He was persistent.
I am convinced that story from Haggai is still an important story for us today. Just like Haggai, we need to keep our dreams big and our work ethic solid. You can have all the talent in the world, but without a goal and some hard work, you will not get very far. Haggai teaches me that if we dream big and work hard, we can do some wonderful things and have a life that makes a difference.
I thought about Peter when I thought about people who dreamed big. Peter might have made plenty of mistakes, but he was brilliant at times. Matthew 14 shows this side of Peter. Jesus went off to pray, sending the disciples in the boat. It says, “Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Peter did what the other disciples had not done because he did not have a cap on his potential. The way he saw it, everything was possible if Jesus was there. Perhaps that is still the case for you and me. Maybe we are capable of much more than we ever thought possible. Maybe we need to be dreamers like Haggai and Peter.
All too often, I have sold myself and God short. “It’s not possible” seems to be my refrain. Then I read about people, like Peter and Haggai, doing incredible things. Those stories jazz me up and expand my imagination of what God wants me to do and what I can do with God by my side. I hope that you find the same to be true in your life. You never know what you can do until you dream big and, like Peter, take that first step.