Seek the Welfare of the City

American politics disgust me.

I’m sorry if that offends anyone for I really don’t mean to be rude.  I know many people take great pride in the democratic functions of our government and love to take part in serving their community, state, or country in the political realm.  I guess I just have a jaded view of politics born out of the corruption we hear about literally every day in the news.  It’s just created a sense of distrust that those in political power commonly look out for themselves and rarely for the people they are serving.

But all of that aside, I still love my country.  I’m not into the popular idea of “worshipping” my country or our freedoms or some famous document like the Constitution because that would be worshipping an idol, but I do love my country and the people who live in it because it’s what God asks me to do.  Don’t believe me?  Read the following passage of Scripture and see if it changes your mind…

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 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. 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)

Here, we read of God’s people who are exiled in Babylon and forced to live in a pagan culture which is a drastically different environment from how they were called to live.  What’s interesting are God’s instructions for how his people should conduct themselves while there.  They are to pray and seek the welfare of the country in which they reside.  They are told that their blessings will come through the blessings of the Babylonian empire.  God did not call his people to criticize or complain about their situation.  He didn’t ask that his people rise up in rebellion and show the Babylonians the power of the true and living God.  He called them to be light to the nation of Babylon.

Now contrary to popular opinion, God is not sitting up in Heaven right now only looking out for the welfare of the United States of America.  “We’re a Christian nation!,” is a common refrain heard from pulpits around the country, but the truth is, God is concerned about all of his children.  He wants all of humanity to come into a knowledge of who he is and how much he loves us.  Christ’s church is not limited to the man-made boundaries found on a map.  That’s why God would ask of us today the same thing he asked of his people during Jeremiah’s time.  We should still actively seek the welfare of the city, of the country, and of the world in which we live, even if it is a sinful one!

26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” (Acts 17:26-27)

 

“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 it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

As Christians, we should stop complaining about the condition of our nation and be active in promoting its welfare for the glory of God.  Is there evidence of sin around us today?  Sure.  Was there rampant sin in Babylon during the time of the exile?  Again, the answer is yes, but the people of that age were still commanded to honor God even in the midst of their enemies, and we should do the same.  Let us follow the advice of Jesus when trying to live in this world and not of this world…

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

(Matthew 5:43-48)

Let us always seek the welfare of the city.

-Joe Butler

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