Perhaps it’s my imagination, but among my circle of friends, those planning for retirement seem to have a fondness for country living. When I talk to my peers about their retirement dreams, they say things like “mountain view,” “deer passing through,” “quiet,” and “stream.” The only thing I never hear mentioned in their scenarios is people. Maybe they’re just so stressed out that they need to get away for a while. I have never heard anybody tell me that his or her retirement dream is to move downtown in a big city.
God loves nature. It was he, after all, who made it so beautiful, including the mountains, streams, and deer. But he’s crazy in love with cities too. Why? Because that’s where all the people are. The centerpiece of God’s agenda is not admiring the fabulous world he created but rescuing lost sinful people through the proclamation of the Word. The church today really needs an urban strategy for that very reason.
God once expended a huge amount of energy getting his prophet Jonah where he wanted him—out of his comfort zone in Israel and into Nineveh, the huge capital city of the Assyrian Empire. “Should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:11).
Apparently he likes cows too.