Contentment in Exile

Hi Reader,

Welcome to Living Contentment – your weekly nudge towards a life of Biblical contentment.

Here are today’s three contentment-related things for you to

read | do | pray


Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the theme of exile. People living away from their true ‘home.’

This weekend I’m preaching on Daniel 6, and really the whole book of Daniel is about some followers of God who were taken into exile but still were faithful.

It seems there are two common responses to being taken into exile: compromise or revolt. People either become complacent or counter-attack. We saw the same reactions even from Jesus’ disciples.

Matthew was a Roman tax collector. He worked for the empire, the enemy, the power that had the Jewish people living in exile (in their own land.) Mathew chose compromise before he met Jesus.

Simon the Zealot was a member of an armed militia group who had sworn their lives to take down Rome. They felt justified in using the Empire’s tactics (power, violence, armed force) against them, to defeat them. Simon chose revolt before he met Jesus.

But Jesus corrected BOTH of them, teaching a third way. Neither compromise nor revolt. But a kind of subversive loyalty. Yes, work for the good of the community around you, but you can’t give in when that same empire/community asks you to be disloyal to God.

Give to Caesar (the empire) what is Ceaser’s – and to God what is God’s

If Caesar wants some coins as a tax to keep doing what he’s doing, fine, but your real allegiance, your real loyalty, your real devotion belongs to God.

If we’re hoping to either become like the empire around us or to take it down, we’re going to be disappointed. Jesus didn’t ask us to take down the Empire or to become like it.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29: 7


AS USUAL, the Bible Project has an incredibly succinct and insightful video explaining the implications of the theme of Exile

If you’d like to go deeper into this idea of living in exile, I STRONGLY recommend the book:

Exiles: The Church in the Shadow of Empire by Preston Sprinkle

This book especially looks at implications for our political involvement in the “Empires” in which each of us lives.


God, you have called us to live in this world,
surrounded by hurt, pain, sin, death – it doesn’t feel like home,
because it isn’t.
Help us to strive for, to pray for, to want the good of where we live
to “seek the welfare of the city where you have sent us into exile.”
Until you make all things right, use us
not to help the evils of the Empire,
not to fight back using the same that was used against us,
Help us to give Caesar what is his,
but give you what is yours – our life, our love, our very being.
Give us strength to remain loyal to you despite the Empire.

Talk to you next Thursday!