Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from August 13-19 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston. Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef, and math wizard). They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.
Devotional Thought for Today
“Are you living like a renter or an owner?”
These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: 4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.
Do you currently rent or own your home? Does it matter? Of course! No matter how considerate and responsible you may be, you probably won’t care as much about your home as you would if you owned it. Here’s the thing: whether we own or rent, spiritually speaking, all of us are actually exiles in a foreign land (1 Peter 2:11). We live here, but this isn’t truly our home—which naturally leads to the question: if this is all temporary, why should we care about where we live?
To the exiles in Babylon who were yearning to return home, God is about to give some extraordinary instructions: build houses and live in them—in other words, don’t rent, but buy. Make an investment! Plant gardens and eat their fruits. Marry and have sons and daughters, that they may have children too. Stick around in one place for a while. Perhaps you might wait to see your children to grow up and have grandchildren. You may recall in Genesis 1, God created humanity with a purpose—to be fruitful and multiply.
While the world we live in is temporary, God does not want us to consider it to be disposable. Rather than escaping to heaven, our goal is to invest in such a way that the kingdom of heaven comes to earth. So here’s the question: how are you investing?
Prayer: Lord, we know that we are spiritual exiles, and that this world is not our true home. At the same time, we want to see Your kingdom come to earth. Help me to know how to invest in Your kingdom, to store my treasures in heaven. Give me eyes to see how I can use my resources for Your purposes. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Esther 2
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 14:25-33: Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Questions to Consider
- What is Jesus asking of the crowd?
- What two examples/illustrations does He use? What is the point?
- Have you counted the cost of following Jesus? What is He asking you to surrender?
- Jesus is asking that the crowd be willing to sacrifice everything they have in order to follow Jesus.
- The two examples Jesus uses here are: (1) someone who began building a tower before calculating if they had the resources to complete it; and (2) a king who surveys whether he can actually win a battle before fighting it. Jesus’ point is that the crowd needs to know whether they are able to pay the cost of following Jesus before they actually do so.
- Please pray and supply your own answer.
While we are spiritual exiles in the land, we are still ordered to care and invest in those around us. Spend some time reflecting and journaling upon the ways that the Lord is asking you to invest for His Kingdom.