Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Jeremiah 29: 5
This passage is taken from when the God of Israel, through the prophet Jeremiah, told the people living in exile in Babylon how they were supposed to live. They weren’t to act as exiles but were to fully embrace the area and people that they were now with. God indeed had future plans for them, as noted later in this chapter. However, at that point they were to build homes and plant gardens.
Now I wasn’t ever in exile in a foreign land, but I have moved a number of times as an adult. After finishing college my late wife, Judy, and my family made several corporate moves. During that time I worked for five insurance companies in four states, in two of these states I lived in two different cities. After I left the insurance industry and went to the Seminary I have moved to two brand-new states to where Shirley was called as pastor.
Some of the moves were longer than others, but in all of them I tried to make myself and my family at home, and we settled into the community. We bought houses, put in yards and tried to make wherever we lived our home. We also took advantage of the surrounding area to visit on vacation as well as taking in all of the interesting aspects of the town that we lived in.
Part of discernment on this spiritual pilgrimage is living in the moment and trusting the future to God. That is what God was telling the Israel nation that even though they were in exile they were to build homes, live in them and plant gardens, to basically settle down.
You may not be called to move to a new location as you listen to God’s direction and discernment, however you may be asked to try something new, or take on a different ministry role. No matter what it is, take it seriously and embrace the new adventure and live in the moment, knowing that God has a future plan for you!
Creative Lord, help me to listen for your guidance, and give me the courage to embrace whatever I am being called to, and show me how to live in this moment and trust the future to you! Amen. Vernon T.
Vernon T. Jones earned his Master of Theological Studies Degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary after a lengthy insurance industry career. Jones has assisted people with incorporating into their faith journey the discipleship practices that are outlined in his upcoming book and his presentations.