I have always loved reading the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament. All of those little books with crazy names that give us glimpses into God’s heart. Recently I was reading through the book of Micah and I came to a familiar verse found in Micah 6:8. It says, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
In the last few years I’ve seen this verse on a lot of T-shirts and taglines. This verse is all the rage as our generation wakes up to injustices around the world. Social justice initiatives like clean water, and anti-human trafficking efforts are being implemented all over the globe. Christians are getting involved in eradicating hunger and alleviating poverty, and lives are being changed. I’m sure that many of you reading this, like me, work in this field and find yourselves staring into the cold face of injustice every single day. Poverty, prostitution, kids on the streets, unfair wages, sexual and domestic abuse being widely tolerated…injustice pushes in on every side until it threatens to crush me. It makes me angry, leaves me overwhelmed, and has me desperate for a solution.
God's Word has brought us to an understanding of how deeply God cares about the poor, oppressed, widowed, and orphaned in our world. Our hearts join His in beating for the vulnerable in the country of El Salvador. The Gospel is redemptive and it can change lives holistically…body and soul, and we want to be used to bring physical relief and to share the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ.
But we can’t lose sight of God in the fight for His justice. The Gospel cannot be merely reduced to a trend, or what I think I can do for His Kingdom. God had a heart for justice and mercy long before it became popular, and long before He called me to do it. The “walk humbly” part of this verse brings conviction as I look deep inside myself and find that I am lacking. I find myself caught up in a movement, or wrapped up in a ministry instead of simply walking hand in hand with the only One who can bring justice to all the pain and sadness of this world.
How easy it is to think that my work has more value than another’s! Missionaries are tempted to lean this way. We have given everything in answer to God’s call…but so have many others, who have different callings. Our walk must be humble.
There is urgency to the commands in this verse…act justly, love mercy. There is urgency when people need saving, churches need planting, and Bibles need translating. But how often have I let the cries of our ministry drown out the voice of God?
This work of justice is one I never expected, but it is the work that God has given me. Through it He is teaching me that He is first, above any ministry no matter how desperately it is needed. He is teaching me that if I am not walking humbly with Him, then my efforts to do justice are like Israel’s sacrifices in the book of Micah…all for nothing because their true heart was not chasing after God. I want to be used by God, and to be a part of what He is doing to redeem this world. But I never want to be so caught up in doing something for God that I lose sight of simply walking with God.
How has God been speaking to you? Do you find yourself elevating a ministry above God who makes that ministry possible? How do you keep perspective in your own life and ministry?