Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which
I have carried you. Pray to the Lord for it, because
if it prospers, you too will prosper.” - God
Here in this our own season of exile to a strange land with the convergence of Covid-19 shutting down the nation, reeling from the economic fallout, the racial upheaval, the tumultuous climate of political polarization, & the re-surges in the number of those infected, dying or dead from the coronavirus... Whew! Given the wild & uniquely challenging season we're in, it would make more sense for God to simply let His people hang back, retreat to our homes, retreat within ourselves, binge watch shows as a form of soul care & just ride out this storm. But, like Isreal in Jeremiah 29, God invites His people to lean in - Instead of benching us, He tells us to seek to thrive & sends us out to serve & seek the welfare of the city.
Is it possible that even in good times we aren't meant to live focused just on our own inward wellbeing or just that of our family & faith community, but also on the city at large? Is it possible that a measure of how we experience the prosperity of God is somehow tied to our work of love, mission & justice in the city we're planted in?
To position yourself for city-welfare seeking in this strange land, plan to:
Love More intentionally & More Diversely:
This season calls for you to do relationships a bit differently. It will take more intentionality & more effort to keep cultivating old relationships & to launch out into developing new ones, especially among those much different than you. Different in color, culture, viewpoint, etc. But both of these are the new essentials for this new season. Agree with God to let Him move you out into deeper & new places relationally.
Live More Missionally:
In this strange season, God's people are being invited to reembrace their calling to share the gospel. To consider that the salvation of this generation is the will of God, but in so many ways dependant on His people to do the work of getting the word out about salvation - Confront your fears & make peace with your calling to share the gospel in places & with people who have not yet heard, understood, or accepted it. Say yes to your calling to live sent as a missionary in your city, & take on learning ways to do it well.
Pursue Doing Justice.
Your city needs your involvement & help. In some places more than others. Seeking the welfare of the city means you create head & schedule space to regularly pray for its welfare & to research where is the best place for you to invest your time & talents in serving toward your city's welfare & prosperity. Places where you can make a difference spiritually & practically. Especially on the margins where help is needed most.
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Take a few moments to make peace with God moving
you more consistently out into those three directions?