Also, 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
What good is a good marriage? Sure, it’s more pleasant for the people involved. And you can imagine their kids would benefit. But does the good extend beyond that?
In Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles, he paints a big vision of blessing. If the city prospers, the exiles who have been carried there will prosper. Blessing cascades into blessing.
How hard it must have been for the exiles to consider seeking the peace and prosperity of the city in which they were carried into exile! Peace for these people? Prosperity for this city? Wouldn’t justice and vengeance be better ends?
Jeremiah understands that the way the systems are intertwined doesn’t allow the exiles to experience blessing unless the city is also blessed. They’re linked together.
And the same is true for us. All around us are people with whom we’re linked. When they are blessed, we’re blessed. If they’re not blessed, we’re not going to experience blessing either. And this presents a challenge to us.
So often our competitive society pushes us away from biblical interdependence. We want to stand on our own two feet. We want to win. We become “Facebook jealous” and fight in proxy via our children.
But God has a better way for us, the way of mutual interdependence, the way of community, the way of the body of Christ. Together, we seek each other’s blessing. Together, we ask the Spirit’s blessing on those with whom we’d ordinarily compete.
Who can you pray blessing over today? Who can you ask God to provide with peace and prosperity?