For the month of May, we’ll take a brief look at 31 wise sayings from Proverbs 11, that’s one proverb a day…
When the righteous thrive, a city rejoices; when the wicked die, there is joyful shouting.Proverbs 11:10, Christian Standard Bible
Far too often, Christians act as if they’re scared of what is happening in the world around them. We retreat from culture to huddle in our safe places, complain, or attack. These three responses are not the true Christian response, however.
To bring joy to a city, Solomon wrote, the righteous need to thrive. We don’t thrive by retreating, complaining, or attacking. We thrive by joyfully engaging. The Bible says that by belonging to Christ, we are citizens of heaven, but sojourners (or exiles) and ambassadors in this present world.
In Jeremiah 29:5-7, God gives instructions to his people in exile: “Pursue the well-being of the city” you live in. Build your home and family, seek the good of your neighbor, and pray on behalf of your community.
NT Wright in his book Surprised By Hope used three words to describe this attitude: Beauty, justice, and evangelism. Beauty–we use our time and talents to try to make our communities better places. Justice–we seek the fair and proper treatment of all people, and stand up for the rights of the oppressed. Evangelism–we point people to Jesus, our Savior from sin and death, and the One who will one day set all the world right.
When we thrive pursuing such things, we make the world around us better and bring joy to our community. So let us seek to be those who influence and shape culture for good and not retreat from it.