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: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 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. 7 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 29:4-7
I stumbled upon these verses as I was preparing “new year” devotionals. 2017 will probably be a very interesting year if the political “pundits” are correct. We saw that 2016 totally blew away many predictions, and there’s reason to believe that this next year could prove to be challenging on a number of fronts.
What struck me about this passage is verse seven in particular. A few weeks ago the barbershop chorus I am in sang a couple of songs to open the Plano City Council’s meeting for the month.
(Our Chorus began singing at the 1:00 minute mark in the video. )
What amazed me about the entire event was the actual setting for the meeting. It had been more than 25 years since I had witnessed a town or city council event. Here was a group of 8-10 people making decisions for a city of 250,000 people. Before we sang, a gentleman had presented a status report of various park projects the city had already approved and funded. I believe the grand total for the park projects was more than $70 million. Town and city councils are doing these kinds of things every day. Do you know what your tax dollars are funding?
The second thing about his passage is the Lord’s admonition to just get involved where you live. That obviously is different for each person because all situations are different. It’s a way of rephrasing the American adage “bloom where you’re planted.”
So, the task for this week and the next year is to discover who your town or council members are.
Pray for them (or just single out one of them) and let them know you’re praying for them. Send them a card because they may not get many of those. Attend a council meeting or two.
Find out what’s happening in your city.
The above passage is part of a letter to the Hebrew exiles in Babylon. They were in “enemy” territory but God wanted them to be productive right where they were.