I wrote this letter for Kevin and Katie Lavery, godly professionals who have crafted a legacy in Jackson early enough to enjoy it themselves.


The Ilitch family[1] is bringing new life to Detroit because it’s their home, and they are committed to its success. They recall the proud traditions of the D—Motown, Hockeytown, Motor City USA—and have invested incredible resources in a turnaround initiative that is already bearing fruit and will almost entirely recreate the city by 2020.

You believe in your city, also. Where others see disappointments you see opportunities. Where others complain about the economy, you invest in institutions, people, and projects that have produced abundance. You’re not glad-handers or naive optimists. You’re workers. You’re faithful.

You’re Christian.

Every city has a detritus and an aspiritus, a worst-case scenario and a noble ambition to be something better. Both detritus and aspiritus receive their energy from people. Lazy, unproductive, naysayers produce negative energy that accelerates the city’s detritus—its worst flaws magnified, left unchecked, and even glorified. Eager, committed, imaginative people produce positive energy that accelerates the city’s aspiritus—noble ambitions, leading the city to become the best possible version of itself. This healthy spirit results in improved infrastructure and amenities, better offerings to both residents and visitors alike.

What the Ilitch family is doing for Detroit, you are doing for us. But I don’t think it’s just their example that motivates you. In fact, I think you’d be chagrined by the suggestion. You’re motivated by God’s love for God’s people. You see the city and perceive the Lord. That’s your gift. You’ve been placed here, and you recognize it, and so you also recognize that the investments you make in this place are eternal investments in the City of God amidst the cities of man. “God’s city is different from human cities where skyscrapers are designed for their builders’ own prosperity and prominence. The city’s cultural riches are produced, not for the glory of their producers, but for the joy of the entire earth and the honor of God.”[2]

My prayer is that the investments you continue to make in the city return as dividends in your spirit. God’s work always results in God’s blessing. There is a reciprocal relationship between obedience and meaning, between stewardship and satisfaction.

May you always swim in blessing.


[1] Owners of the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Little Caesar’s, and Motor City Casino.

[2]Keller, Center Church, 140.