What’s the “Main Thing" about being the People of God?
What’s the “Main Thing" about being the People of God?
In his outrageously successful book "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", Steven Covey wrote, “The main this is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
It is so tempting in our culture to not have one “main thing.” We have many “main things” and so we have no “main things.” We multi-task. We labor. We spin. We run. We make more money so we can consume more, and we exercise more so that we can eat more.
But is this what life is all about? I don’t think so and I was, again, reminded of that with the public debacle of Charlie Sheen’s life and his ABC interview this week. Wow. Just another of many, many celebrities who labored and consumed more, and the consumption is destroying him right in front of our eyes. It’s not a “train wreck” situation. It is more like someone with gangrene of the soul that is rotting slowly from the inside out. If you haven’t seen it here is the interview. But I don’t stand in judgment of Sheen. I am simply an onlooker who has been there--and I don't think I'm overstating it. Really. And apart from Jesus I would be there today, if I were even still alive and not in jail. That is honestly where I was headed when Jesus changed my life.
And there is still hope for Sheen. I really believe that. And there is hope, and I mean REAL "My life can still be amazing" kind of hope for you too, if you are interested today.
But I believe the key to hope and “abundant life” is to ask, “What is the ‘main thing’ about living well to God? Does the Bible say anything about what is important to Him, about what it means to BE the kind of people we were created to be?” And the answer to that question is clearly and profoundly “Yes!”
This passage is one example of an answer. God here is interacting with people who claimed to know Him, but weren't living that way. Here he takes them to "court" and all creation is the jury. Check it out and see if you can find out how they were living contrasted with God's vision for their lives:
Micah 6:1–12 (NIV84)
1Listen to what the LORD says: “Stand up, plead your case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say.
2Hear, O mountains, the LORD’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel.
3“My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.
4I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.
5My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD.”
6With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8He 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.
9Listen! The LORD is calling to the city— and to fear your name is wisdom— “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.
10Am I still to forget, O wicked house, your ill-gotten treasures and the short ephah, which is accursed?
11Shall I acquit a man with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?
12Her rich men are violent; her people are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully.
In this passage the People of God had turned following God into a burden. They had turned it into “religion.” And it broke God’s heart. He wasn't "angry" here in the way that we get angry. He was heartbroken and sad like a good father to His children. Why? Because they were laboring and spinning in life and in their “worship” while neglecting good and just behavior to widows, orphans, employees, citizens and many others. They had been trying to please God with hard work, but they forgot about simply loving the people around them in practical, everyday ways.
And the heart of this passage is verses 6-8 in which God, through Micah, exhorts them to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” In other words, they cared about “religion” but forgot about relationships with God and people. They didn’t keep the main thing the main thing. And, by the way, Jesus addresses this quite strongly too in Matthew 23:23.
I admit to you today that I do that a lot--forget the "main thing" of the Christian life: justice, love and humility.
Thank you God for calling me back to the kind of life that you offer me today. A life of justice and love, especially toward those who don’t know you as “The lover of their souls” yet. Thanks, Lord, for extending to me this life of grace and peace and rest. May I live into it today and live this life of Matthew 11:28-30.
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