Read: Jeremiah 29:1-14

Build houses and live in them. (v. 5)

The Israelite captives in Babylon wanted badly to believe the false prophet Hananiah when he predicted their return to Jerusalem in two years (Jer. 28:11). They lived with a false hope of a quick solution to their predicament and put life on hold. Why invest in the neighborhood if we’re moving again in two years?

I sometimes see this pattern among Christians who think of God’s kingdom primarily as a future, vapory existence in the cloud-like paradise they imagine heaven to be. Why bother fixing up earth and building communities when God will soon bring a new heavens and a new earth? Here the saying proves true: “Some people are so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good.”

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come . . . on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). The kingdom Christ inaugurated in his first coming will be complete when he comes again. His kingdom is both “now and not yet.” Our eternal life begins when we receive Christ and culminates in eternal glory with him, but our longing for the ultimate glory that is coming mustn’t lead to lazy living now.

Like the captives in Babylon, we are called to build houses, grow gardens, and invest in the neighborhood. With the apostles, we are still sent to make disciples of all nations. Until we die or Christ comes again, let us be about our Father’s business in our Father’s world. As our neighborhood prospers we prosper (v. 7). Make home where you are. —Jon Opgenorth 

As you pray, thank God for your neighborhood.