“But 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.”
– Jeremiah 29:7 ESV
I love my city.
Recently, someone wrote an article on the ten top reasons why they don’t live in our city. Their article identified a common trait with some who walk in the faith . . . we are more consumers and condemers instead of creators and cultivators.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote to his countryman who were in exile. They had been relocated from their beloved city, Jerusalem to a place that was unfamiliar, uncomfortable and unwanted. Jeremiah gave them some insightful instruction, “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take 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.” (Jer 29:5-6 ESV)
Jeremiah was encouraging them to engage, not escape; to invest, not isolate; and to build, not create barriers. There is a reason and rationale behind the prophet’s request.
For The Good Of The Community. We are to pray, plant, produce and prosper. Jeremiah wrote, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf . . .”. Peter tells us that our response reveals our Redeemer. He writes, “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” (1 Pet 2:12 NLT). Live a life that leads others to the Light.
For The Good Of Ourselves. When our communities are blessed, so are we. The prophet gives some impacting instruction, “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away!” (Jer 29:5-6 NLT). A few verses later, Jeremiah shares God’s promise, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer 29:11 NLT)
For The Glory Of God. Jesus used salt and light illustrating our influence in our communities. The reason is revealing, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:16 ESV). When we pray and practice for the welfare of our communities we proclaim the worship of the Creator. It’s for our good and His glory.
As citizens living in exile, we still reside in His cities. Chris Tomlin wrote the following lyrics,
You’re the God of this city,
You’re the King of these people,
You’re the Lord of this nation.
You’re the light in this darkness,
You’re the hope to the hopeless,
You’re the peace to the restless,
There is no one like our God,
There is no one like our God.
Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city.
Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done here.
Do good in your city . . . and, give God the glory.