Taking God seriously?
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously. (Micah 6:8)
On occasion someone will announce to me that they aren't sure what they are supposed to be doing with their lives - they are not certain God is using them, where he wants them to be or go, or that they are 'in his will' in a particular situation. Truth be told, all we have to do is ask God's direction and he is sure to let us know. If we explore scripture, we see examples of both what we are supposed to do in this life and the things we are not supposed to be pursuing. Live honestly - forsake anything dishonest. Avoid the green-eyed monster - be humble and gracious. Don't steal - work for a living. Avoid self-dependence - trust in God's plan. Do - Don't Do - given to us all throughout the scriptures - we only need to look deep enough to find our answers.
The example given to us today is that of doing what is fair and just to our neighbor. It seems we have a different standard of fairness and justice today than we might have had fifty years ago, or even twenty years ago. It is as though fairness and justice have become moving targets. Fairness and justice cannot be separated - they are equal partners in this verse. Justice carried the meaning of personal accountability for one's actions. That seems a little different than how we use that term today, doesn't it? It also carries the meaning of not giving preference to one individual over another - fairness. In the first reference, there is a penalty for an infraction; the second carries the idea of equal measurements. There is an overarching responsibility for community - to live well with others, be at peace with them, and never seek to 'outdo' the other.
I suppose the most 'telling' part of justice and fairness is the idea of being merciful in a generous way - not just on occasion, but continually extending mercy to others. Compassion and loyalty in our love demands this type of 'generous grace', doesn't it? Providing for the needs of others is what God had in mind here. It might be we begin doing this by practicing fairness and justice in all our actions - it extends into our giving of ourselves, our talents, and our provisions to others. We meet the needs of those within our community - spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Is it possible that in making the choice to live in such a manner we begin to take God seriously? Just askin!