This week we focus on bringing happiness to our communities. How can Christians spread hope to those who live nearby?
Read Jeremiah 29:1-23. What do you think about where you live? Do you love it? Or maybe you wish you were somewhere else?
For those of us who live in a town or city, it is often not easy to live, work or worship in it. Some have abandoned buildings, graffiti and an underbelly of problems we’d rather not think about.
God’s people were in a city that seemed like hell to them. In 597 B.C. the brightest and best of them had been carried out of their beloved city, Jerusalem and exiled to Babylon. The Babylonians had treated the Israelites abysmally. They had destroyed Jerusalem, ransacked the temple, ruined the economy, removed their leaders and enslaved the people.
What a shock it must have been to hear Jeremiah declare that God commanded them to work for the peace and prosperity of that hated city! And this wasn’t just the absence of conflict, but shalom – wellbeing, contentment, wholeness, health, safety and rest!
Likewise, we are commanded to further the public good, whatever we feel about the place where we live. This means praying for our community and being a good neighbour. It means social action. It means volunteering in the community. It means smiling at people! It means driving carefully and safely. And most of all, it means doing all we can to ensure the community in which we live knows Jesus Christ.
THINK IT OVER
Think about the following:
oWhat are you doing to bring shalom to your community?