I am here in San Francisco trying to relax after our conference in Las Vegas. I have exercised my shopping muscles, against the advice of people who have moral ascendancy over me. I can justify it by saying that it is my way of de-stressing.
Then I read today's passage and was struck by this:
"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." (Haggai 1, 4-9 ESV)
I felt the Lord speaking to me through this passage. Nothing satisfies, only Jesus. The problem is how to be part His work while going about my earthly business and not being tempted to be busy with my own "house".
I did get out of Las Vegas without betting a single cent in the slot machines that could be found in every corner of the city. Yet, the struggle continues to be "in the world" and not "of the world", as Jesus exhorts His disciples to do.
There is no simple solution to this struggle. All I can do is to keep trying, daily. In fact, I can start again tomorrow.