4“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6Take 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. Jeremiah 29:4-6
God addresses the Israelite captives in Babylon as people who are to live under Him and in His covenant no matter where they live. He has sent them. And now He commands them to engage in life there. Their temptation may have been to “keep their moving boxes” rather than unpack and settle down.
Build houses. Live in them.
Plant gardens. Eat the produce.
Take wives. Have a family.
Expand the family.
We are tempted to turn Christian discipleship into a perpetual retreat from life. Instead we are to engage in the activities of a good life as people under the graceful rule of Jesus the King. Our life together as the church includes engagement in the productive aspects of city and community life. Building, planting, forming relationships and creating family.
Are you living well?
Living well for a Christian is to somehow engage in the economy of Great Commission disciple-making. I really can’t read Jeremiah’s letter to exiles through the lens of Jesus’ commands without taking hold of His call for the church to multiply disciples. Following a Mark 4 view of the Kingdom, we are to be a people who plant our lives in community, plant the Gospel in the lives of people, make disciples of those whom Jesus calls, and gather them into the church He is building. Exiles have longings. We are longing for Him to be fully revealed and in doing so we are becoming the people who reveal His Kingship… no matter where we live.