“There’s no place like home.” (Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz)
According to the dictionary, home is the place where one lives. But we all know that home is much more than a location. It is possible to live somewhere and never regard it as home. Home is where we belong, where we fit, the place that has our heart.
When it comes to Christian service, seeing the place of our ministry as home is a basic essential. The situation we find ourselves in may not be ideal, but if we are to bear fruit it is vital that we view our locality as home.
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 29:7)
See it as your city – I have sent you
The people of Judah were in Babylon because God had sent them there. It wasn’t their ultimate home, but for a generation it was where He had placed them. Until they were called back to their homeland they were to settle down and regard it as their city. For the Christian believer this world is not home. The hope of every disciple is focused on another city, our eternal home. But for the duration of our time on earth we are to put down roots and seek the peace and welfare of our world. Wherever God has put us is the place of our calling. We will never do anything useful for God, people or ourselves until we resolve to see it that way. We need to see our village, town or city as it really is – our city, our home.
Bless your city – seek the welfare of the city
The people of God were called to actively work for the benefit of Babylon. The near judgement and destruction of the corrupt city was prophesied. But in the meantime the people of Judah were instructed to bless their current home and seek the welfare of the city and the people within it. One day this earth will pass away and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. But while we await that Day the Church is charged with blessing the world and all the peoples in it. God has put us where we are to be a blessing. Acting as salt and light we are to roll up our sleeves and do all we can to bless our city, our home.
Pray for your city – pray to the LORD on its behalf
Babylon was a wicked place and represented everything that is contrary godliness. God’s people had nothing in common with the Chaldeans. Yet they were charged with praying for the city’s welfare. The best thing any of us can do for our town, city and people is to pray. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4) We develop a heart for what we pray for. Let’s pray for our city, our home.
“Home is where the heart is.” (Pliny the Elder) The place where we live is not just an address, it is home. It is the place of our calling. Seek the welfare of your city, your home, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.