I live in Singapore, so I had more than a casual interest in the 1997 Asian economic crisis. It came suddenly and caught most people offguard. One day people were rich and the next day they were poor.

It was a vivid reminder of the importance of right timing. We can start a business and carefully plan for the future, yet if the timing is wrong that business can fail.

In our Bible reading today, the focus is on the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon. They knew God wanted them to rebuild the temple, and they had begun the work. But then construction stopped. Their excuse? “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built” (Haggai 1:2).

Is there ever a wrong time to obey God? A friend told me that his priority now is to become successful so he can earn lots of money to give to the Lord later. I told him that God did not need his money. God wants us to be His “living sacrifice” right now (Romans 12:1).

We might be afraid of what will happen to us if we choose to obey God immediately. But being obedient to His commands is not about right timing. It is all about who God is and who we are as His servants.