Reading through the Bible this year led me to Jeremiah 29. In the middle of a tough book to read, comes a chapter of hope. Though Judah is now in exile, the Lord paints a picture of hope for His exile people.
When most people think of Jeremiah 29, they think of verse 11, I know the plans that I have for you, declares theLord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. (GOD’S WORD Translation)
When my family has been in times of transition, this is a verse we remember, we share, we pray, we claim. When we moved to California, it was the verse we quoted in the mailings we sent out that let people know our new address and our new home. In other words, this is a great verse to remember.
But it’s not the only verse one should remember from Jeremiah 29. We should also remember and even more act upon Jeremiah 29:7, Work for the good of the city where I’ve taken you as captives, and pray to the Lord for that city. When it prospers, you will also prosper. (GOD’S WORD Translation)
Pray for the city. We sometimes forget the city we live in, the city we love, the city where we make our living is not our final destination. In a certain sense, we are exiles here. Heaven is ultimately our home.
Yet in Jeremiah 29:7, God calls us, invites us, even more commands us, to work for the good of the city … and pray to the Lord for that city. God cares for your city, for my city, for this world we live in.
This verse calls me forth to serve in my community. It’s easy to stay inside the church, as a pastor I have plenty to do. But God calls me into the city as well. One way I answer that call is Tuesday Playground Duty at a local school. My job is to keep the kids safe. Last time it also involved a lot of hugs. I was told most of the kids don’t have an adult male they get to interact with, my role as Tuesday Duty guy seeks to provide for the welfare of the city.
When we pray, we usually pray for our needs — the sick to be healed, the lost to be found. But Jeremiah 29:7 is also an invitation to pray for the economy and the welfare of our city and world.
Jeremiah 29:7 reminds me to serve and to pray. One reason I love my church is how we have grown in a life of service in our community, in seeking to contribute to the welfare of our city. This year we are seeking to give 100 gifts to the city of La Mesa. But we also pray that God will guide our city, state, national and world leaders to follow God’s wisdom, His love for those in need, and for the welfare of our communities to make a difference in our world.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a great verse to remember. So is Jeremiah 29:7. Good news is we can remember them both.
How are you working for the good of the city? What are you praying to the Lord to happen in your city today?