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Rebuilding the Temple

Building projects can be hazardous to church leaders! The danger doesn’t come from falling bricks or loose boards but from discouragement. About 20 percent of pastors who lead their church through a construction program leave within two years of its completion. There may be good reasons for this. New circumstances in the church may require a different kind of leader. But it is also possible that the pastor has just grown weary in well doing.

As God continued to answer the question posed by the delegation from Bethel, He painted a picture of a restored city and renewed zeal for the rebuilding of the temple. The book of Zechariah began with this invitation: “‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zech. 1:3). In today’s passage, the Lord assures that He will make good on this promise (v. 3). God not only set the conditions of return but also promised to change the hearts of His people so they would respond to His invitation.

One of the greatest challenges God’s people faced was the size of the task. The exiles were scattered and often marginalized. Resources were limited. Their surrounding neighbors were hostile. These problems looked very different to God. In verse 6 the Lord asks, “It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?” The implied answer is “No!” The Hebrew word “marvelous” expresses the idea of something beyond one’s ability. What seemed beyond their capabilities was not beyond God’s. The same is true for us. God’s power is far greater than our problems. His plans for us exceed our greatest longings.

Apply the Word

Are you facing a situation that seems beyond your ability today? Why not take a sticky note and write on it: He is more than able! (Eph. 3:20). Place it where you can see it several times a day. Is your church going through a building project or renovation? You might also take a moment to pray for your pastor.

BY Dr. John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

Dr. John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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