God was teaching the Hebrews in captivity what they had failed to learn in freedom. Israel was created by the promise of God, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2). The nation liked being blessed; they did not care much, however, to be a blessing.
When I was hired for my first job, I thought the company existed in order to provide me with a paycheck. My dad straightened me out, “Son, you work for them. They don’t work for you.” My employer, he explained, exists to make a product and a profit. The better they are at what they do, the better they will take care of their employees. Dad taught me making the success of a company my goal is the best way to find my success.
Judah would be captive in Babylon for seventy years. Jeremiah’s advise to Judah was Dad’s advise to me, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare’” (Jeremiah 29:7). Be a blessing first. Your blessings follow. In fact, the most blessed in life are those who bless others most.
Father God, You made me to do Your work and will in the world. You gave humans mastery over creation, to subdue it and care for it, to populate it and enjoy it. We failed badly. We thought of ourselves first, and wanted the world to serve us, and this is how we have acted on our own ever since. It is how I act on my own.
Thank You for not leaving me on my own. You put my self-centered actions to death on the cross, and now You are working on the desires that remain. You are changing me from the inside out, teaching me grace and humility and compassion. I don’t make it easy, but thank You for persisting. Do what it takes, God, whatever it is. Make me a blessing to others and a testimony to Your grace.