October 28, 2020·Mario Ortiz
When we hear Jeremiah 29, we almost immediately think of verse 11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
But let’s back up a little bit and read verses 4 to 7:
“This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. Find wives for yourselves and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive.’” (CSB)
You see, Church, the plans God has to prosper and not harm us, only come after we have embraced what He’s commanding us to do in the previous verses. In essence, what God is asking His people to do in Jeremiah 29 is to live on Mission. God wants you and me to live on Mission.
God’s people (people of the Kingdom) have been called to influence and penetrate society! Society is transformed when God’s people execute His Kingdom plan. The prophet Jeremiah challenged the people of God, living in Babylonian captivity, to regain their spiritual clarity! In other words, the Babylonian culture wasn’t Israel’s greatest problem. Instead, the Jews had stopped influencing culture and had failed to remain God’s distinct people.
The reality then, and our reality today, is that when the Church fails to be God’s unique people, the entire culture will suffer our sin’s effects. We are called to be different! We are called to proclaim the Kingdom! The Church is God’s agent of transformation! But, without an intentional effort, the Mission identity of the Church can get lost.
I’ll end with this… The Church is God’s missionary people. It’s not a political party or whoever is in the White House that will change this nation. The agents of change, the agents of transformation in our communities, are the followers of Jesus. Verse 7 says, “Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive.”
So, what does it look like to seek the well-being of the city?
Every time you and I share our faith, we are seeking the welfare of our city.
Every time we engage in making disciples, producing and reproducing followers of Jesus, we seek the welfare of the city.
When we engage in helping the needy, feeding, clothing, and meeting their real sociological needs, we seek the welfare of the city.
Every time we serve and love our neighbors, we are seeking the welfare of our city.
So, are you living on Mission? Are you pursuing the well-being of your city? Are you praying for your city?
My prayer for you today is this, “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He pour His Spirit upon you and anoint you to live on Mission, so you may be an agent of transformation as you passionately pursue the welfare of the city.”
Pastor Mario Ortiz