Some people seem to think that being a faithful disciple is all about the details of doctrines to which they adhere or their level of personal morality.
Yet this does not seem borne out by scripture and the life of Jesus. Jesus was all about the doing. Even in his teachings, such as the one we often call The Sermon on the Mount, are about living, actions, relationships–what we do in life.
One passage that is familiar to many, even if they aren’t sure exactly where it is from, is this: What does God require of you? Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with God. (From Micah 6)
Do Justice. This is an active instruction. It’s not about having nice ideas about justice or great philosophical debates. It is about doing what all of scripture is fairly clear about: caring for the poor, the orphaned and widowed, the stranger in the land–anyone who needs help. There is also quite a bit about fair relationships, not lending money in such a way as to bankrupt another person and includes the care of animals.
Love kindness. Another active instruction. Not just be polite or do something kind because you’re supposed to. We’re instructed to love kindness–to see kindness as the essence of our relationships with each other and with the world. How might we address the climate crisis as people filled with the desire to show kindness to creation, the seas and land, the animals and birds, the air above and ground below?
Walk humbly with God. Do we feel like we are in charge of everything? That we are more important than anyone else? Or have we just stopped listening to the leading of God and go merrily on? To walk humbly with God is to live each day with an awareness of God’s presence, reflecting the love, compassion and grace of Jesus. Humility is a gift, not a burden. It is a strengthening of our relationships, not a diminishment. C.S. Lewis said this in Mere Christianity:
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
Discipleship is a verb. It is what we do and how we live. The details will vary depending on us, our life circumstances, the times and conditions in which we live. But the essence is the same: Do Justice. Love Kindness. Walk Humbly with God.