Flourishing for Everyone

Signs of poverty -l iving in a shack like this.

Part sixteen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

A road through a poor neighborhood in GuatemalaOver 2500 years ago, the Jewish nation was conquered and many people were carried off to Babylon. Can you imagine how it might feel to be torn away from your home like that? You might feel bitter, or angry. You would feel like you were in a place you did not belong, and you would probably want to go home.

If I had been taken from my home, I would want God to set me free, and maybe to destroy the city of those who had taken me away! The surprising thing is that God did not want the Jews acting this way. He did not want them to be bitter toward the people and cities of Babylon. Instead, God told the prophet Jeremiah to tell people to work for the health of the city.

I think a part of living as a Christian is working for the health of our cities. Like the Jews in Babylon, we are strangers in this world. We represent Jesus well when we bring goodness to the places we live.

It would be easy at this point to start thinking about working with the local movers and shakers, and how much good we could do through influencing them, but it is important for us to remember the poor. If we make our city beautiful and line the pockets of those who are already wealthy, what good have we done? On the other hand, if we elevate the poor, we have helped those who genuinely need it.

So if we are determined to help our cities, how can we make sure the poor aren’t left behind? For one thing, it is important to make sure the poor haven’t just been run out of town or forced out of sight. That is a surface level change that ignores the dignity of those in need. Instead, ask for God to give you insight on how to develop relationships with the people you minister.

Another way to make sure the poor are not left behind is to be intentional in including them in your planning. They understand what they need better than we do because they are living in these communities full time. If you ask for their help you are acknowledging that they are genuinely valuable and made in God’s image. In that way you will help your city, and everyone in it, flourish.

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