Just as Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi made a difference, you can make a difference in the lives of others -- in your family, school, church, community, and world! The world needs you -- your ideas, your compassion, and your spiritual outlook. And, it’s never too late to start contributing. The best gifts are those from the heart.
You can make a difference by writing out Recipes for Life!
- Decide what Recipe you’re writing -- for success, relationships, sports, summer camps, excelling at school, being a strong athlete, making friends, being happy, having harmony at home, etc.
- Decide what key ingredients (God-given qualities) are needed for success.
- Decide how much you need of each God-given quality/ingredient. Some of the ingredients may be the same, but the amounts may change. They will vary with the situation.
- This is a great activity if you’re a camp counselor (or a camper). You can have your campers write out their recipes for being good campers, for getting along with everyone, for having a fun summer, etc.
- You can take a walk as a cabin and then read them.
- Share them by your campfire.
- Write a recipe for each of the different activities you’re doing -- swimming, horseback riding, waterskiing, soccer, etc.
- Send recipes into BibleWise!
Below are background information and Biblical examples to help you get started.
Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were all prophets who helped the children of Israel get back to God near the end of the Babylonian captivity. These three books close the Old Testament and pave the way for the New. Each prophet talked about specific qualities the people needed to express in order to do God’s work. They gave them what we could call “Recipes for Life.” Each recipe is a little different because each situation was a little different.
What’s so awesome about these three prophets is that their words and ideas are still helpful today.
- Sometimes we may think we’re really bored with Sunday school and think it’s not important.
- Or, we haven’t heard God’s voice recently because we’ve stopped listening.
- Or we’re struggling to get back to being the really good person we used to be.
- Or we’re trying to figure out who we really are or how to excel.
- Or we’ve forgotten to be grateful for all that God has done and is doing for us.
- Or we really want to be a better windsurfer and are having trouble.
Haggai’s recipe serves as an example. It has amounts and instructions. For the other two, you can decide what amounts of the God-given qualities are necessary for success.
Haggai’s purpose as a prophet was to get his people to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, which the Babylonians had destroyed. Below is a recipe based on the qualities he emphasized as necessary:
Recipe for Rebuilding What’s Important
2 cups Self-examination
1 cup Initiative
1 Tbs. of Timeliness
1 ½ cup Sense of Purpose
Mix until smooth and strong
Add 2 ¼ cups Dedication to Church
4 cups Generosity
3 heaping Tbs. Boldness
Don’t be stingy on any ingredients
Work Hard with Full Effort and Enthusiasm until mixture can stand on its own and withstand change
Purify baking dish
Grease with Real Devotion to God
Pour in mixture fully aware of how you are Honoring God and how God is blessing you
Baking temperature: Warmth of Love
Baking time: However long it takes
Share with your neighbors
In addition to helping the people rebuild the temple, the prophet Zechariah also helped the people in “recovering the magnificence from a degrading exile,” explains Eugene Peterson in his introduction to Zechariah (The Message). He helped them regain their strong sense of identity as a people devoted to doing God’s work. Here are Zechariah’s key ingredients:
Ingredients for Recovering Identity as God’s Child
Compassion for Each Other
Awareness of Others’ Needs
Honesty in Words and Deeds
Praise to God
Make sure you use these ingredients to reach out to those who are less fortunate than you in any way
Malachi, another prophet, wanted to help his people put God at the center of their lives. They had taken God for granted and had forgotten all He had done for them, especially since they were in captivity. But if they didn’t turn their lives around, they wouldn’t be able to meet a challenge if there were suddenly a crisis. Plus, they would miss the good that was coming to them if they weren’t aware. Both he and Zachariah make prophecies about the Messiah, and a lot of people weren’t prepared. Let’s make sure we are open to receiving all the blessings God has for us.
Ingredients for Receiving Blessings
Recognition of the Proofs of God’s Love for Us
Genuine Worship (not just religious “show”)
Honor of God
Openness to God’s Demands
Fidelity (particularly to your spouse, but fidelity is also important in friendships)
Trust in God
If you want to see if these ingredients bring blessings, feel free to test them out
According to Malachi, God has told us: