By Mark Becker
St. Paul’s UMC, Tallahassee, FL
First, read Micah 6:8
Through the prophet Micah, God has told us what a faithful life should look like – what a life that looks like Jesus would be like. There is nothing in this short admonition that runs counter to either the Great Commandment to fully love God and neighbor, or the Great Commission to go and make disciples throughout the world. Instead, I think that God, through the prophet Micah, gives us a more concrete way to live the life we were created to live. So let’s take a very brief moment to look at each of these requirements.
When we look at the requirement to “do justice” we first recognize that this is a call to action. We aren’t supposed to cheer on others who are involved in justice-related work. We aren’t supposed to plan for justice-promoting actions and then sit on the sidelines and watch others do the work. We are called to “do justice.”
Furthermore, the admonition isn’t to do charity work. There is nothing wrong with Christian charity and it is necessary at times. Christian charity can be thought of as feeding the hungry or putting up a homeless family in a motel for short period of time or helping someone with an overdue utility bill.
However, justice is much more than that. We should certainly feed the hungry, but we must also fight the sinful injustice of worldwide hunger. We should house the homeless, but we must also fight the sinful injustice of homelessness. We should give money to the poor, but we must also fight the sinful injustice of poverty. You can see that doing justice is much more involved – and much more dangerous – than simply dispensing Christian charity.
When we look at loving kindness, there is a sense of universality to this requirement. We must love kindness when it pertains to those who are unloved by society. It is easy to be kind to those who can return kindness to us. It is easy to be kind to those who look like us and who act like us and who speak the same language as we do. But to love kindness is to look past the differences between people and to love being kind to all people.
And finally, to walk humbly with God says that we understand who God is and who we are. To walk humbly with God means that we must recognize that we belong to God and it isn’t the other way around. We are created in God’s image rather than us having created God in our image. To walk humbly with God means that God is in charge and that we are called to be stewards of God’s great and wonderful gifts. We haven’t been given anything where we shouldn’t be asking “what would be the most faithful thing to do with these gifts and blessings.” To walk humbly with God is to understand that God loves us intensely but that it doesn’t make us equal with God.
The question for us is, “what changes can we make in our daily lives to live up to these requirements?” “When we don’t live in this manner, are we denying the role that Jesus has in our lives?”
Prayer: Holy God, it is very hard to live like you want us to. It is hard to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with You. But we know that is what you expect of us. Send us your Holy Spirit to encourage us, to strengthen us, and to give us the wisdom to live this way. Amen.
- When was the last time that I engaged in a justice activity? What can my family do that will promote justice?
- How does my family demonstrate universal kindness?
- Is humility a characteristic that we are known by? How can my family learn to demonstrate humility in our daily activities?