Read Micah 6
Focus on verse 8
I believe it was the famous football coach Vince Lombardi who began each football season by standing in front of his team of professional football players with a football in his hand, and he would hold it up as say, “gentlemen, this is a football”.
His point in doing this was not to insult the intelligence of these veteran players who already knew what a football looked like. Rather, his point was that mastery of the fundamentals of the game is the foundation upon which victory is built.
In today’s reading Micah summarizes in one verse the fundamentals of what God was asking his people to do. Interestingly, it was not about the keeping of hundreds of laws given to Moses in regard to daily life, nor was it about offering costly sacrifices on specific high days or in specific ways. He describes it very simply as follows:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (v. 8)
I love the simplicity of this. Three things; do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly. What I have discovered, however, is that simple doesn’t necessarily translate into “easy”. In fact, all three of these things fly directly in the face of what typically comes naturally to me. I want to be treated justly, but I find it impossible to consistently treat others that way. I like it when people are kind to me, but to actually be kind to certain people is really hard! And when it comes to humility… well, I’m sorry, but humility just isn’t something that comes naturally to me. So I find that the reality of all this is that when I have tried to do these things I fail more than I succeed. If this is really what God requires me to do – in order to be good enough to please Him, I’m lost!
Fortunately, God has not left us without help in this department. There is this wonderful third person of the Trinity whom we call the Holy Spirit who Jesus promised would be our helper. I continue to be amazed at God’s patience with me. He lets me try and try and try again, until I give up in despair. Then when I am ready to listen to Him – the conversation between God and I goes something like this:
God: “Are you done?”
Me: (sarcastically) “Do I look done?”
God: “You look frustrated and angry, and actually rather pathetic.”
Me: “How observant of you. Is that supposed to be encouraging?”
God: “You asked… I’m just being truthful. Are you ready for some help?”
Me: “Why? You wanna see me fail again?!”
God: “Actually, I’d like to see you succeed.”
Me: “I guess…”
God: “You guess what…?”
Me: “I guess… I could use some help.”
God: “Well then, let’s do this shall we? You know, for the record, you don’t have to wait until you failed eight million times before you ask for help… just so ya know.”
Me: “Wow, eight million? You counted?”
God: “Every star in the universe, every hair on you head, every grain of sand on the seashore, every time you fail, yeah, they are all pretty close, would you like to know the exact numbers?”
Me: “Maybe tomorrow… let’s do this.”
He is wise enough to know that if He had offered sooner my pride would have resisted His assistance. When God does it; it seems easy, and I wonder why I don’t ask for help sooner.
I think the bottom line is that it really is not that complicated, it is possible to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly, but only when we do it “with God” – that’s the catch. That’s the one thing that we forget…like we have amnesia or something. Fortunately, God doesn’t have amnesia, and He’s okay with reminding me of the fundamentals – over and over and over again. Like old Vince Lombardi at every training camp, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”