As I write this I am drawn to the Jeremiah Realty and Assurity Company.
Jeremiah was a prophet of renown who did a lot of unpopular things like truth telling and encouraging people to return to God. Jeremiah wore a yoke to show that the Jews would be slaves to Babylon. He also studied the modus operandi of Babylon and recommended to the Jewish people that they quietly accept Babylonian rule and faithfully work the land and faithfully worship and wait out Babylon’s own destruction. Babylon utterly ruined any nation that refused its invasions.
There were other prophets who said that God would never let something bad happen to His chosen people, the apple of his eye, and took for granted that Babylon would fail to take the Promised Land. Jeremiah didn’t take God for granted and knew that the Jewish nation had become unfocused and complacent in its faith and security, and that being vulnerable to Babylon was the natural consequence for their lazy faithlessness.
But before the Jews were rounded up a second time, and when no one born in the Holy Land would ever see it again, before his visions of the consequences started coming true, Jeremiah bought land. This was a terrible business decision. But it was faith.
Faith is an action. Faith is not that God will do it someday. Faith is that God will do it and I will act. Faith is a partnership. Jeremiah knew that the land would one day go back to God’s people so he invested in it. Jeremiah put his actions where his faith was.
I recently officiated at a burial for a partner in the Jeremiah Realty and Assurity Company. He bought a rundown fishing cabin on an algae-clogged lake (clogged by lack of regulations on a cranberry bog next to it). The place was decrepit, the lake was undesirable, it was still more than they could afford, and no one on the lake saw any future. But he did.
He had faith that the water wouldn’t always be this way. He had faith that with hard work the fishing cabin could become a modest summer home where his wife and three children could just be. The bog owner did clean up his operation. The work continued. Over the years improvements were made. His faith in God and his firm belief that hard work for the people you love is blessed bore fruit. He lived to see four generations gather together to joyously experience each other as gifts of God. He had faith in the God of future who blesses faith and work.
Jeremiah 29:11 reads: 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 a future with hope. But that does not lead to complacency or helplessness or laziness; it leads to industriousness and work trusting that the promise is true.
Much of Israel today was purchased in the early 20th Century. These areas of malarial and brackish swamps with high hunger and high infant mortality rates where people had fatalistically lived for generations were sold to these Jewish families who saw it as the promised land. They dug trenches to move the water, planted orchards, invented drip irrigation, worked their tails off, and the land became a land flowing with milk and honey. It is one of the few places where the hard work of people changed the climate for the better as their work created the evaporation that fed the clouds that fed the rain that fed the land that watered the orchards that fed moisture to the clouds.
The unique book of the Bible between the Gospels and the Letters of Paul is called The Actions of the Apostles. We shorten it to ACTS. It is not called the Faith of the Apostles. Actions. Actions imply faith and trust in the one who came to bring forgiveness and immortality to light. Actions show that we believe and trust.
There are a whole ton of people that are good at telling us what is wrong with the world. It doesn’t take a genius to tell what is wrong. But for a lot of people what is wrong will be solved by them getting out of the way or them dying or them get voted out or them going back where they came from. I have a different take.
It will be by hard work and faith that we will arrive at a future that is blessed and earned. Or it may be by faith and hard work. Or it may be by working faith. Or faithful work. It will be by more partners buying into the Jeremiah Realty and Assurity Company.