Tuesday, December 09, 2014

For my city...

People have all sorts of reasons for wanting a town to fail...
I can't say I know why, exactly, that is, but Jonah didn't like Nineveh or that city's citizens. When God has compassion on Nineveh, and relented of His plan to destroy that city and its people, "...it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry." (Jonah 4:1 ESV) Jonah was so displeased with God's graciousness and mercy towards Nineveh that he wanted to die when God relented (see verses 2-3). Jonah was mad. Real mad.
God asked Jonah a probing question: "Do you well to be angry?" (see verse 4) Or, another way of asking, "Jonah, is it right for you to be mad about my pity on Nineveh?"
You see, Jonah is wrong. He's not the only one or the first one or, I doubt, the last one to ever be wrong.
If a city is still breathing, God is having mercy upon it.
To Jonah, God said, "And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?" (Jonah 4:11 ESV)
Do we well to be angry about Roxboro? It's breathing. God's pity is real and alive; today.
Do we well to be angry about Ferguson? 
Do we well to be angry about New York? 
Do we well to be angry about Chicago? 
Do we well to be angry about San Francisco? 
Do we well to be angry about Dallas? 
Do we well to be angry about Miami?
May God have pity on our cities and may we each obey our call and preach the Gospel. May we each be joyful when people repent. May we put down roots and build the Kingdom in our cities. May we seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God in our cities. May we love our neighbors AND our enemies in our cities. May we show Christ, share Christ and shower Christ upon our cities. May we plow and plant in hearts and sow and seed God's word in our cities. May we defend the weak, speak for the mute, work for the weak, give to the needy, encourage the downtrodden, feed the hungry, visit the lonely, gather with the grieving, serve the sickly and dig wells for the thirsty in our cities. May we judge less of what we see in others and judge more of what we see in ourselves in our cities. May we be family to the orphan and befriend the stranger in our cities.
Many people scoff and scorn, belittle and berate. Many people tear up things and tear down people, like locusts sweeping in swarms, ruining much in a gobbling rush to fill self.
But, I will show you a better way!
Let us love the city we are in! Its buildings still stand and its people still breath; God's pity is active.

Let us not run from our calling. Let us, instead, run to it!

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