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  • Allen Domelle

Don’t Judge the Unfinished Book

Haggai 2:3-4

Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:

Imagine an author who has written several successful books looking at a few chapters of an unfinished manuscript and judging the author because this unfinished book is nothing compared to the finished books of the accomplished author. It would be foolish of the accomplished author to judge the unfinished manuscript because the book is not completed. To judge the new author by the unfinished manuscript is unfair and foolish. It would be wise of the accomplished author to let this new author finish his manuscript before making any judgments.

This illustration is what happened in the verses above. Haggai addressed the people who saw the temple in its first glory. The reason he addressed them is because the older men were comparing the foundation of this new temple to the finished product of Solomon’s temple. Haggai was reminding the older generation that the new temple was an unfinished manuscript that God would use mightily if they gave it a chance.

It is a great mistake of any generation to compare the upcoming generation to their youth. I grew up in a generation where the largest churches in every state were independent Baptist churches. If I am not careful, I could easily compare today's churches to what I saw as a youngster and criticize the growing churches of the present generation, only to discourage them from becoming what they could become if I just encouraged them.

It is unwise to compare the present growing churches to the past because the present churches are still growing; they are not done writing their book. We must realize that God can work in every church, and judging them by their unfinished manuscript is unwise and discouraging to those who are excited about God using them.

Moreover, it is also unwise of parents to compare their children to what they think they were when they were children. First of all, your memory is likely a selective memory that embellishes what you would like everyone to think about how much more difficult your childhood was compared to today. Your children are unfinished books. Just because they are not rearing their children to your approval doesn't mean they are not doing a good job. Your children, whether still a child or an adult, are unfinished manuscripts that God can use or is using. Instead of discouraging them, revel in the fact that God is using them.

Let me encourage you to enjoy the fact that God is still growing churches today and is using the younger generation. If we constantly compare today’s churches and youth to the previous generation, we will discourage them. Rejoice when every church is growing and enjoy the manuscript that God is making out of that individual church. Rejoice when God is working through youth, even if you don't think they are doing what you did. It is always better to be an encourager of what God is doing through the present generation than to criticize unfinished manuscripts and discourage them.


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