About 2,600 years ago, God encouraged a group of people living in exile to ‘…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.’ You will find the story in Jeremiah chapter 29. It is a principle of sacrificial generosity that is arguably more important than ever in today’s individualistic society.
In challenging times, when our resources of time or money are stretched, it can be so easy to say, what can I do that will bless me / my family / our church?
The Easter story shows us that that is not the way of the Gospel. If we are to be true followers of Jesus, our mission cannot be about what benefits or blesses us. It must be about joining God in doing what benefits or blesses the place where we live, and the people amongst whom we live. After all, that is the example of Jesus, who lived ‘in exile’ amongst us and who, in going to the cross, sought only to bless us by bringing us peace with God. Nevertheless, in rising from the grave and enabling us to have a new start in life as part of his family, he too ‘prospered’ as a result of his sacrifice.
As we continue to reflect on who God is calling us to be, and what he is calling us to do, let’s be guided and motivated by a genuinely sacrificial generosity that says simply ‘what can I / we do to bless those around me / us?’ What happens after that is up to God!
May the risen Christ bless you this Easter with the riches of his new life for you, for those you love, and for the workplaces and communities that you are part of.
With my love and prayers