so close, yet so far
Read Matthew 10:39-42, 25:34-40 to see some of the practical ways our faith can become active.
In what part of your life have you struggled to make your faith active? How can you keep a God-centered focus as you live out your faith?
Tom Shadyac, the director of the films Patch Adams, Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar, and the Ace Ventura series, recently purchased an old downtown church building in my hometown. He converted it into a shelter for the homeless. When I asked him about his impulse to create The Haven, Tom recounted his college years in Charlottesville, Virginia and how he didn’t understand back then that many of the university workers he encountered were struggling to pay their bills. But when he returned years later for a film shoot, Tom says, “I became awake to all of this,” and he felt compelled to work for the good of the city.
The prophet Jeremiah lived during one of Israel’s most difficult eras. God’s people had been captured and were being carried off as slaves to Babylon. Jeremiah gave them God’s instructions for the harsh days to come. What do you think His message should have been? What should God’s people have done in a pagan land, under the rule of cruel oppressors? Should they have gone on strike? Should they have initiated guerilla warfare? On the contrary, the prophet told them to “work for the peace and prosperity of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7). They were to work for the good of Babylon.
They were not only to work for Babylon, but also to pray for Babylon. Even more, they were to work and live as if their own well-being was enmeshed with their captor’s well-being—because it was. “Pray to the Lord for [the city],” says Jeremiah, “for its welfare will determine your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7).
God’s call to His people, wherever we find ourselves, is to love and bless and pray for the city (the people, the communities) where God has placed us. He is looking for people who will seek the peace of their home—their city.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 16:5-33
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