Christianity 201

July 10, 2013

Seek the Welfare of the City

Daniel Yang is a church planter who has resettled his family in Toronto, Canada in anticipation of a church launch there this fall. This appeared on his blog under the title Jeremiah 29:7

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

In the Old Testament, Israel was the nation chosen by God to reveal his love to the rest of the world. God was so committed to his purpose that even when his people were living in a land that wasn’t their own, he commanded them to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you.” God placed an entire generation in a position of humility and vulnerability and then commissioned them to engage an unfamiliar city by investing into it the lives of the next generation.

Over the last few years this Jeremiah passage has helped me process my family story. My father was a little older than I am now when he left his homeland to live in a refugee camp for several years. The conditions in the camp were difficult, but he knew it was only for a season. At the age of thirty-nine he and my family immigrated to the United States where they learned a completely new way of living and thinking. They lived as a diaspora community seeking the welfare of the city to which they were brought and in doing so found their own welfare.

There’s something about the diaspora mentality that God wants his people to learn when they are called to engagement. From my experience this mentality forces us to do two things 1) adapt to the situation around us with humility and openness and 2) commit to the cause of others despite our own needs.

Jesus embodied the essence of this passage when he left the glory of the Father’s right hand and took on the form of a servant to die a criminal’s death in order to reconcile man back to God. Very rarely, if ever, will gospel engagement in any part of the world look different from this model.

Learn more about the church plant, Trinity Life by clicking here. As I watched a preview video for the church, there was a line, ‘God of this City,” which is also the name of a modern worship song I realized we’d never posted here. I hope you enjoy it.