He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
How often have I prayed to know God’s will for my life, and here it is in a compact and succinct sentence. Once we know Christ as Savior, God expects our feet and our hands to follow our heart of commitment.
Practice justice, treating people with fairness and impartiality. What does this look like? It means that I will stop to listen to the aged and to the child. I will not withhold when I have something that will help someone in need. I will treat others as I wish to be treated. I will not just love corporately (the whole world), but I will love individually (that person standing in front of me at WalMart who has forty items in the twenty items or less check out lane). I will respect the beautiful and the unlovely, for who am I to say what is beautiful in God’s eyes. I will do; this is active and compelling, an ongoing, everyday action. Practice justice.
Love mercy, which incorporates kindness and forgiveness. When I love mercy, I look at those I meet with eyes of compassion rather than judgment; I leave the judgment to God, who alone is worthy of this task. I notice hurting people, even as I realize that hurting people often hurt others. Loving mercy requires me to reach out, to serve, to lift up, to encourage. Mercy takes me out of myself and into the hearts of others. It makes my life a reflection of God’s heart. In James 3:17 we read “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” Mercy is what the world should see when they look at me.
Walk humbly with thy God. Walk carries the meaning of daily journey. Humbleness includes a lack of pretention and modesty. Here, though, it is used in connection to our relationship with God. When I walk humbly with my God, I defer to His will, His way, His heart. I have a relationship with Him, and my way is aligned to His way. I promote the things that He loves, and I reject in my own life those actions and attitudes that hurt Him. Walk is an action verb, so our relationship is active and ongoing; I am always moving in the same direction as God. Ephesians 5:2 tells us “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” God is love, so when I walk humbly with Him love will be the crowning characteristic of my life.
We always like a picture to help us understand. Just recently, a dear lady passed away. She was a veteran teacher of well over forty years, much of the time spent with kindergartners. She never talked about or elevated herself. Her heart was on others. She remembered and recognized the birthday of each student she ever taught and many of their parents, often surprising them with a call on their special day. She offered special words of praise to each individual she was in contact with, and she was constantly checking on those she knew. Her legacy was a life of love. When I think of Micah 6:8, I think of Kay Floyd and her consistent life of love. She didn’t preach sermons, but she lived them every day.
Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God. Sounds like a full-time job to me.