Making a Difference Where We Are - The Warrior's Journey®

Making a Difference Where We Are

Author: Brendon O'Dowd, USAF (Ret.)

Sailors build a hut in Guatemala. Photo by The U.S. Navy is licensed under CC By 2.0

The military teaches us to seek more responsibility and opportunity in each successive job and assignment.

Since we have an “up or out” policy where we are either promoted or forced to leave the service, we are driven to find the next position that opens new doors. We also live with a date of separation emblazoned on our ID as a stark reminder that we have limited time to reach the highest rank. It’s a future focus rather than a present mindset.

Welfare of Babylon

The Israelites had a similar mindset. God banished them to Babylon due to their rebellion against Him. This was not a rash temper tantrum by God. He warned them about the consequences for over 300 years (even longer if you count Moses’ warning in Deuteronomy 28:49ff). They knew the penalty, but they were counting on God going easy on them. The Israelites were after all, God’s chosen people. They fully expected Him to forget the punishment all together or shorten the sentence and bring them back to the promised land.

God quickly corrected this way of thinking through the prophet Jeremiah. God told them to get comfortable in Babylon because they would be there for 70 years. He tells them:

Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 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. 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 (Jer. 29:5–7).

A key word in this passage is “seek”. It’s an activity of searching, investigation, and thinking. God wasn’t telling them to isolate themselves, rather they were to help bring shalom, or welfare, to the city God chose as His instrument of punishment! No wonder Israel wanted to go home early.

Welfare of Our Unit

That passage was written over 2500 years ago, but it still has application for today especially in our efforts to shape organizational culture. God calls us to seek the welfare of our current units in three ways:

First, we need to make positive contributions to our units. We don’t let other people do all the work. We do our duty with a good attitude. And we work hard to help our units win awards, pass inspections, succeed in exercises. We work the car washes, snack bar, and community events. Christians are called to be team players and we should do it with excellence because of the God we serve.

Second, we can enjoy the contributions we make. We proudly wear unit ribbons and celebrate successes. We participate in unit parties and recognition ceremonies. Christians are called to set an example of how to have true joy in our celebrations.

Third, we pray for our units. God is interested in the details of our lives, all the details. So, we can talk to Him about all that is going on in our units.


  • Please pray for your unit leadership that they would have wisdom to make wise and good decisions.
  • Pray for the new unit members that they would integrate into the unit in positive and helpful ways.
  • Please pray that you would be a bright light shining for others to see God.
  • Pray that you would do as Peter instructed: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15).

Assignments come and go. Right now God wants you to seek the welfare of your unit.

In article photo in order of appearance:
101023-M-3952S-038 by the U.S. DoD licensed under U.S. Govt. Work
100122-F-1644L-008 by the U.S. Air Force licensed under U.S. Govt. Work

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