Jeremiah 32 opens with the prophet imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard. Jeremiah was in confinement because he had prophesied that the Lord was going to deliver the kingdom of Judah into the hands of the Babylonians. Already, the army had conquered much of the countryside. Jerusalem, the capital city, was completely surrounded and being besieged by the invaders. The people of the land had nowhere to turn. No other nation could or would come to their aid. Personally, Jeremiah was effectively condemned to life without parole. There didn’t appear to be any possibilities of him being freed from prison, and even if he was, most likely he would be exiled away from his home to a foreign land. Both corporately and personally, Jeremiah’s situation seemed hopeless.
God came to Jeremiah in this bleak situation and offered a divine word. The Lord told Jeremiah to purchase a piece of his ancestral land in Anathoth. For those not familiar with the geography, that is about 3 miles from Jerusalem, which soon would become “ground zero” in Babylonia’s final battle against the kingdom of Judah. Even though there was nothing about the current situation that suggested this was a wise investment, Jeremiah followed God’s instructions and purchased the plot of land. This must have seemed like a ludicrous act to those who witnessed Jeremiah buying this property. They must have laughed at his naiveté.
Jeremiah, though, had inside information. Despite the circumstances in which Jeremiah and Judah found themselves, God told Jeremiah that life would again become normal – eventually homes and fields and vineyards would be purchased, held, and used in the land. Jeremiah was called to look beyond the current situation and envision what God’s gracious and creative activity could do. Sure, things looked bleak in the present. However, Jeremiah believed in a future that God would construct.
Still, it was a desperate situation. So why would Jeremiah do this? It was because he trusted in his God. Jeremiah believed that his God – the same God we worship – was a God who created the cosmos and held history in his hand. Jeremiah believed that God could do anything, that God’s will would prevail, and that God would accomplish all that God promised. In other words, Jeremiah had faith – faith in a powerful, loving, active, and personal God. Ultimately, the issue wasn’t the property. The issue was hope. Jeremiah invested in hope.
In a season when many churches are conducting their financial campaigns, the issue isn’t about making a budget. The issue is investing in hope. As we plan ministries for members and missions to the community, the issue isn’t about making people busy. The issue is investing in hope. As we plan our days and think about the future of our ministry, the issue isn’t about being diligent. The issue is investing in hope.
God taught Jeremiah that there is no place or situation that is devoid of God’s creative power. Jeremiah teaches us to invest in places that on the surface seem hopeless.
In the midst of the bad news of school performance and children falling behind, we have the opportunity to invest ourselves in the future of education by mentoring, tutoring, feeding or providing much needed supplies.
In the midst of the bad news of the appearance of crime and violence increasing in our area, we have the opportunity to invest ourselves in our community by praying, becoming active in projects that provide safe places for children, advocating for equity and seeking justice for all people.
In the midst of the bad news of stale or broken relationships, we can invest the gifts of forgiveness, reconciliation, and a surplus of love so that the flames of connection come alive again.
In the midst of bad news about an uncertain economy, we can choose the path of fear that leads to hording and accumulating for ourselves or we can choose the path of trusting God and learn to be generous and share with others who are in need.
It may not make much sense. It may seem naïve, even reckless and rash. But we can invest anyway. After all, if God can bring Jesus back from the dead, then there is nothing that God cannot do. We serve a God of infinite capacity, a God of unlimited possibilities, a God of boundless opportunities.
Thanks be to God!
If you would like to view past editions of Moments with Mike, follow this link: https://corridordistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/