Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7
In my work with foreign missions of our diocese, I meet many distinguished church leaders and am often inspired by their insights. Such was the case with a bishop whose authority extended over a number of countries ruled by despots, dictators, and self-serving autocrats. This godly man told me that he had adopted Jeremiah 29:7 as his theme for the year and had shared the mandate among his wide-spread churches.
If this man and his thousands of parishioners could pray for peace and prosperity in lands where persecution and martyrdom were everyday occurrences, what might happen if we as faithful followers of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, prayed and practiced peace in our own nation? What might happen if, instead of criticism, fault-finding, and hatred for our leaders, we actively modeled peace and sought to reach out in Christ’s love to those with whom we disagree?
In just three short years Jesus showed us how to love our neighbors, how to speak truth to our enemies without animus, and how to give ourselves in loving service for our Lord and others. Rather than advancing his own agenda, Jesus selflessly gave all for our peace and our salvation and that of the whole world.
Do you see the outcome of the Jeremiah directive? Do you see what occurs when we set our hearts to seek and pray for peace and the prosperity of the place where we have been situated? Remember the old adage, “A rising tide floats all boats?” I think this is what God is saying through Jeremiah: When the country prospers, we, too, will prosper.
Seek and pray for the peace and prosperity of our country.
Father, may we be instruments of your peace and seek the good of all around us. You are our resource, and we ask you to use us as conduits of your bounty. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.