What can we bring to the Lord, what kind of offerings should we give him?
Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves?
Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
On our dining room wall, aesthetically hung by my wife, you will find the final sentence of this passage from Micah 6. It was originally placed there alongside a handful of other Bible passages as an art project of sorts by her and our children. One small way to bring our family’s faith into the current of daily life, at the place we gather together most often.
For myself these words have evoked fond memories of Sunday school lessons and church songs, memory verses and VBS. I’d gaze at these words over my sons’ shoulders while they ate dinner and remember a time when life was easier. When faith was easier. Often I’d come home from a long day’s work with the full weight of the world squarely on my shoulders and say to myself, “If only it really was that simple.”
But a life lived in faith is that simple. It’s just that for some reason we’re unwilling to accept it. There may be no greater evidence of the Fall than our insistence that God’s grace is not sufficient and free. That His yoke is not easy, the burden not light.
We are not content to take God at his word and believe that all he desires from us is that we act justly, that we love kindness and mercy and go about our days clothed in humility and other-centeredness. Instead we concoct elaborate schemes designed to appease our own appetites in the name of pleasing God.
What we fail to realize is that in doing so, we actually create a much larger chasm between ourselves and our Creator. We imagine a God who demands vain retribution and doles out harsh punishment for our failures. A God who scoffs at us from afar and piles demands upon us that no one could ever possibly live up to. When, in actuality, all he requires is that we act justly, love mercy and walk humbly beside Him.
It seems so simple. Too simple really. Then why is it so hard?