This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give you daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Ever since Adam has been in seminary, I have seen us in a transition period. It can sometimes seem that this is a means to an end. Even though Adam and I have only been in this stage of our lives for less than a year, I have viewed this as a stepping stone to the future. I have been saying “I wish…” or “I can’t wait until…” This verse is an important reminder to be present HERE in this stage of our life.
I need to invest in my life and the community I am in NOW. I need to be present here and now and not only think of the future after Emmanuel. And honestly, we’ll probably be here another three or so years just so Adam can finish his degree. And wishing my way through those years would be no way to live.
God is telling the people not to be stagnant. Prosper. Grow. Exile is only for a time: don’t become out of practice. I think it is important to remember that I need to be an active part of this community here. I need to do my part to see this community prosper in Christ.
This was just an important reminder to engage in your life and community wherever you may be. Even if you feel like you are in exile or that this is just temporary, flourish and grow where you are. Be a part of your community, be hospitable. Don’t just sit around and wait, ACT.
This is also important to remember with our churches. If our church is really going to grow and prosper we must pray for the church. We must also invest in the church and set down roots. Even if we think we are in the area temporarily we must get involved in God’s community so we can grow and flourish spiritually as well. We also need to put away the mindset of: “things will be better when…” or “just wait until…” We must be involved in our church right now.
Just think of the amazing, God-given growth a church would experience if we were intentional and invested in our community.