“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Almost every follower of Jesus has heard or seen this verse in their lifetime. We quote it, we place it on plaques, post it on Instagram, and maybe we’ve even seen it embroidered on a pillow at Grandma’s house. It is our go-to verse for security and hope as we envision the future.
While this verse has become a spiritual security blanket, many don’t under- stand its context. These words are delivered by Jeremiah as he prophesies to the Israelites that they are going to be in captivity for seventy years. Jeremiah tells them to work, build, settle down, plant, eat, get married, have children, and increase in number. In other words, prosper where you are planted. Be a blessing to the people around you, even in captivity. Jeremiah gives the bad news then describes how they should live before he gives the good news of verse 11.
What if God wants us to flourish by asking us to bloom where we are plant- ed? To become a blessing to our neighborhoods? What if the vision is less about personal prosperity and more about how we can be a blessing to those around us, even in hard times?
God has a plan for us. God has a vision for us in our new season as a church. Let’s fulfill that vision and become a blessing, regardless of our circumstances!
God, give us a clear understanding of the hope and future you envision for us. Help us take our eyes off our circumstances in order to become the people you are inspiring us to become. Prosper us where we are planted so we can become a blessing to the people you have surrounded us with in our communities.
Prayer Journal Reflections
Reflect on the vision of the church in Canada and the United States.
—Wynne Lankford Lead Pastor, Southside Church