Today we are reading what stirred the people to resume building on the temple. They had returned to their homes with high hopes for the satisfaction that it would bring, but instead they found themselves on a treadmill with little sense of progress. Haggai says, "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." (v. 6) Why had they worked so hard and achieved so little? Because they had forgotten that God Himself is to be His people's chief satisfaction. As the temple lay neglected for twenty years, they found other things to work on ... like their own houses. It was a disastrous exchange.
We are made to worship. We can't help it. We were meant to give our lives and energy to something. We will either give it to God, who truly satisfies, or we will run after other things and build a kingdom in the sand. The people met an obstacle in their worship of God twenty years before and thought that they could find other satisfying ways to spend their lives. They were wrong. We sometimes try to draw close to God again and come up against an obstacle, so we throw our hands up and go back to watching TV. God is worth pressing on.