Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from Jan. 1-15 are provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (Ph.D.) who is the AMI Teaching Pastor. He and Insil have been married for 28+ years and they have three children: Christy (teacher), Joshua (grad student) and Justin (college freshman). They live in Philadelphia.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.
Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.
No one extolled the virtue of city life better than erstwhile Harvard professor Harvey Cox, who argued in his seminal work Secular City (1965) that modern city life is preferable over rural (traditional) life. Cox liked that in the city, “relationships are founded on free selection and common interest,” giving people a “wider range of alternatives,” unlike in rural life, where relationships are preset and any newcomer was held in suspicion unless one knew “where they came from and whether their family was any good.” Undoubtedly, he would prefer Sex and the City over The Waltons, a popular TV show in the 1970s featuring a large rural family.
Of course, the 21st century city doesn’t look anything like its 1st century counterpart: cars and trucks have long replaced mules and carts; people who talk to themselves used to be called crazy, but now it just means that a Bluetooth mic is clipped to their ear. But some aspects of city life have not changed: young people still flock to cities, seeking fame, fortune and love. Contrary to Cox’s assertion, cities continued to be a place of broken dreams and shattered relationships. No sooner do people come to cities than they find out that the competition is fierce and no one can be trusted.
In a symbolic sense, it makes sense why more city dwellers are victims of crime than anyone else: Cain, who “belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother” (1 Jn. 3:11), built the first city. And a city was where Jesus, just before his ascension, commanded his disciples to go. In Jerusalem, the disciples were to receive power through the Holy Spirit, after which they were to preach the gospel (Lk. 24:47) before venturing out to other nations.
A city was where the apostles first preached the gospel, and even today cities are often the seminal grounds for mission work around the world. In the 2000s, I served in Chihuahua, Mexico, a city of about one million people. I walked to stores, jogged daily (crossing 42 streets) and train urban pastors. And it was fun and rewarding ten years of our lives. How about you? Is God calling you to a city? There are still a lot of needs out there.
God, on this day reserved for you, I thank You for the opportunity to serve you, which I often take for granted. Whether I live in the suburb or city, there is no shortage of people who need You. Help me to share what I’ve received from You: hope, meaning and eternal life in Christ. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 5
Lunch Break Study
Read Hebrews 10:24-5: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Jn. 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Prov. 18:24: One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Question to Consider
- Imagine a lonely city dweller. Based on these passages and our need to belong, how can we make her feel better?
- Define a good friend.
- What are some good ways to encourage a discouraged friend or acquaintance?
- A safe and secure place where she can interact with others; a meaningful friendship
- A good friend is someone who sacrifices himself to seek your good; someone who will stay with you through good and bad times
- We should begin with reminding them of God’s love, care and concern for them; and then we should invite them to our meetings while reaffirming our love for them.
Do you live and work in the city? Or do you live in a suburb but work in the city? Each day might be busier than the last for you. But we should do more than just spend the whole day in front of the computer and talk on the phone. Reach out! A simple yet sincere “How are you” can mean a world of different to your lonely coworker or fellow student. Do something unique for someone tomorrow. Pray about it.