The painful, troubling nature of our world confirms what we know in our hearts to be true: this is not our home. The Bible tells us we are "aliens and strangers" as if living in a foreign land. Even so, as we wait for the fulfillment of God's Kingdom, He calls us to live in this world as if it WAS home. The correct response to a troubled world is NOT hiding, fighting or accommodating it. Through Jeremiah 29, God reminds us the correct response is to put down roots, build houses, marry and raise families, work and produce economically – all as we seek the welfare of our city. We invest. We serve. We engage. We work for the greater good of the city, for as it prospers, we prosper – the church prospers – by pointing to the gracious, humble and loving manner of the One who is our Savior.
Sociologists call our current era the age of "hyper-individualism." We seem to be slightly obsessed – and impressed – with ourselves. George Barna's latest data proves that true, revealing that 98% of Americans believe they are "loyal, reliable people" and 95% believe they are "solid, independent thinkers not influenced by others." We've raised generations of children with a "you are special and it's never your fault" message believing it would create better people, but we got the accounting wrong. We don't care for others more; we care less. We're not more content; we're more envious. In this culture, Paul's words in Philippians 3:1–12 ring true. "Whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ." While Paul could have gained status and power for himself by virtue of his heritage, he instead chose a different Kingdom. He chose to give his life for a different purpose. Perhaps we need to check our "accounting." Are we living a life committed merely to self, or are we living in the manner of Christ, poured out for the life of the world?