If you disagree with me, then most likely, you have never tried to assemble a play kitchen on Christmas Eve, or some other toy whose package bears that ominous phrase. Nor have you tried to assemble furniture that arrived in pieces in a box, with picture instructions only, or, the most feared … a barbeque!
Be assured, anything that requires “some assembly” will never be done quickly, and the instructions will never be simple!
Life is often like that, is it not?
Filled with missing instructions and lost pieces.
How many times do we ask, “God, what is Your will for my life?”
The good news is God’s instruction manual, the Bible, makes the assembly of one’s life simple. It gives us clear and concise instructions for how we are to live; none more straightforward than Micah 6:8:
Most of us think that all God requires of us is to go to church on Sunday, read our Bibles, be kind to the elderly, and make sure to avoid the BIG sins. Yet, if these were God’s requirements, then we would be just like the Pharisees. They went to church, read the Pentateuch and avoided all the BIG sins. All one has to do is read Matt 23, Mark 7 and Luke 11 to see that the Pharisees’ way was not God’s way.
What does God ask of you and I as His children?
Speaking through His prophet Micah, God told His people (and us), who had forgotten His ways and were doing their own things, what HE requires:
We are to act justly.
This means in all our dealings at home, at work, in the church, and in our schools we are doing justice. Simply put, this means to treat others fairly or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Practically, this means:
Do not cheat people in business.
Do not bully people at school or on the Internet.
Defend the defenseless.
Treat your siblings and parents with respect.
We are often faced with moments when we must battle sin; sometimes moment-by-moment. However, to find occasions to “do good” or “act justly,” we may have to leave the comfort of our homes. We may have to open our eyes to the ugliness going on around us. We have to realize the refusal to do something, no matter how small that task is, and despite how insignificant that act is in the whole scheme of things, is refusing to do what God asked….to act justly.
Our responsibility is to obey. God will take care of the results.
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. “ Mother Teresa
We are to love tenderly.
Other translations have “to love mercy.” Notice, we aren’t told to have mercy but to love mercy!
Does that make a difference?
It is easy to do acts of kindness out of obligation and obedience. It is quite another to do them out of love.
The whole concept takes on a new tone when you understand that the word Micah uses here for “mercy” is the same word often used in reference to God’s mercy and grace. It refers to an “unexpected” kindness.
Jesus’ teaching emphasized the importance of “unexpected” kindness.
The parable of the Good Samaritan demonstrates unexpected kindness.
The account of the woman caught in adultery, the return of the Prodigal son, and Jesus’ actions toward the thief on the cross all demonstrate the result of unexpected kindness.
Yet, none grip my heart more than the story of a young, abused, and broken girl who was without hope until her Savior reached down and granted her an “unexpected kindness.”
How can I not love mercy when such mercy was poured out on me?
Oh, it isn’t always easy to show mercy; especially to those we might not like, or when to love tenderly takes us to places and people that are out of our comfort zone. It may ask us to sacrifice our time and money. But, it is what God requires of us (Matthew 5:7, I Peter 3:8).
We can love tenderly by:
Sponsoring children in Developing Countries.
Giving clean drinking water to those without.
Volunteering at a soup kitchen.
Helping to shelter the homeless.
Shovelling the driveway of your grumpy neighbour.
Don’t just show mercy, but love to show mercy!
We are to walk humbly with our God.
If you are born again, then your life is not your own, for you were bought with a price (Ephesians 2:8-9). You belong to God. Everything you do and everything you accomplish is not because of you, but because of God’s power working in and THROUGH you.“Humility must be in the heart, and then it will come out spontaneously as the outflow of life in every act that a man performs.” (Spurgeon)
To walk humbly with God is never an easy task. My pride and arrogance can sometimes get in the way.
Do you know what I mean?
Sometimes, we think that God’s role is to serve us and to answer our prayers. Rather, we should see
ourselves as His humble bondservants whose role it is to glorify Him and Him alone.
To walk humbly with God, our desire must be the same as John the Baptist’s: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” In order for that to happen, I must walk with Him, commune with Him and spend time with Him. The results of this will be reflected in my conversations, my actions and attitudes.
“Some Assembly Required.”
Yes, our life in Christ requires it.
But, if we read and follow His simple, concise instructions, as given in Micah 6:8, our lives will be beautiful constructions of his grace, mercy and love to a dark and hopeless world!