God asks Jeremiah to do this seemingly crazy thing—buy property in a land that is being conquered by a foreign enemy. Just as his people are taken captive into Babylon, Jeremiah obediently buys the land they all have to leave behind. Crazy, right?
What’s more, Jeremiah is very public about it. He carries out the transaction in front of “witnesses . . . and all the Jews.” The community bears witness to this outrageous commitment he makes to the future, to a promised abundant life ahead. Did they think he was crazy? Wasting his money?
This was a bold witness, a wake-up call that challenged any assumptions about “the end of life of as we know it.” God was telling a different story: a story of abundant life ahead with a signed deed as a promise on the future.
Today it's easy for us to doomscroll through newsfeeds and wring our hands in worry. Neuroscientists tell us that this repetitive behavior creates neural pathways in our brains, physical circuitry that wires our brains to seek out ever more bad news. We are held captive to paralyzing anxiety, unfree for the story God is telling about the future.
In order to be free to be part of God’s dream for the world, I want to listen to the narratives God is telling. How is God calling us to stake our claim on the future? What commitment for the future makes a crazy, bold witness for God’s abundant life? Maybe God is inviting us to invest in the failing elementary school down the block. Or maybe God calls us to the work of racial justice when it can seem to be a lost cause. Or maybe God dreams for us to plant our lives in our hopes for the future instead of planting in disappointment and regret.
O God, free us from our captivity to stories of doom, and open our ears to your story of abundant life. Amen.
While Jeremiah is in prison, God tells him to buy a field. This transaction shows that in the future, life will return to normal. It is an “enactment prophecy,” where a prophecy is given through actions instead of just words. The psalmist rejoices in the protection that God provides to the faithful. God is a fortress, a covering, and a shield. Paul admonishes his readers not to fall into materialism. The love of money, not money itself, is the root of all kinds of evil, and those obsessed with it build their hopes on shifting sands. Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who has fallen into that very trap. Only after death, when it is too late, does he realize his mistake.
Read Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15. How do you live as if God’s promises were already true?
Read Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16. How do you turn toward God with hope in times of darkness?
Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19. Whether you have few or many possessions, how do they get in the way of your following Jesus?
Read Luke 16:19-31. God knows each of us by name. Do you know the names of the persons in your community who have obvious or internal unmet needs?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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