About a month ago I was working late one night and Stephanie & Bo had met her sister, brother-in-law, their 8 kids, and her mom in OKC at a local place similar to Chuck E. Cheese. That day we have a small but powerful late afternoon storm blow through our part of the city. Well when Stephanie got home the tree in our front yard was broken in half and our air conditioning was off. We think the wind had broken our tree, which had died from the intense heat. The electricity had been off at our house, and the breaker to the a.c. had tripped. My brother-in-law came by and tried to get it working, but it still wasn’t going. Well when I got home, I went to flip the breaker again and noticed the switched was partially pulled out and not making good connection. I pushed it in, flipped it and the outside unit fired right up, so on to next problem. As I tried to decide to do about the tree I had the thought that I wished I did not own a home so I could call a landlord to just come fix everything.
Isn’t that what we feel like as Christians a lot? We think well we are just passing through, this is not our home, heaven is, so we don’t have to worry about this world. Consider these words from God to the Israelites in captivity in Babylon through the prophet Jeremiah.
4“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.8For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,9for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.
10“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.14I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:4-14
God is telling them they are stuck there for 70 years and to do far more than just make the best of it. He is telling them to seek the good of the city. Let’s explore this a bit. Why were the Hebrew people there? They had been taken captive as a result of war and brought back here. Do you think they liked the people there? Not a fat chance! Yet what does God tell them? Intermarry, plant roots, establish yourselves, seek the good of the city and its people. Wow! That is a fairly heavy command.
Could it be that God expects the same of you and me as we live in our modern day times? Should we ignore our city or seek its good, and seek its good by spreading out the Gospel? I think it is the latter, won’t you join me in that pursuit today?