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August 19, 2015

Do Justice, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly at Work


10 Reasons Why You Should Open Your Bible

Your work matters to God.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Christ’s vision for our vocations, how work is a way we reflect the image of God, and how the perfect Son of God worked on our behalf to defeat sin and death so that we might be saved to bring him glory…even through our vocations.

So that’s why we work. But how are we to work? What does it look like to live out the image of God in our various vocations? Micah 6 teaches us how we are to work and gives us three applications for our daily lives.

Work without wickedness

The voice of the Lord cries to the city…Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. (Micah 6:9,12-13)

What are the sins that the Lord is rebuking the people for? He is rebuking them for their unjust, merciless, and arrogant business practices. Certain businessmen are using their power to arrogantly seek personal gain by using unjust scales in the markets, which cheat and oppress the poor and their neighbors, showing no love and care for their fellow citizens.

So the Lord cries to the city that he abhors wicked work.

God gives us this negative example to show us again that work matters to him. This may seem obvious, but I wonder if it really is. If we were asked by a friend about the sins the Lord hates, would wickedness in our work even come to mind?

Some of us have a massive divide between our work lives and our Christian lives, thinking one doesn’t affect the other. But the Lord knows no such divide, and he abhors wicked work.

Work with justice, kindness, and humility

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? (8)

Micah 6:8 is all over Christian signs and calendars, and that’s right and good because it’s a wonderful verse that gets at the heart of how we’re supposed to live.

Yet, its original context comes in the midst of the Lord’s rebuke against wickedness in vocation, in work. This verse is a call for men and women to “do justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God” at work.

So God calls and requires (feel the force of that word) his people to work with justice, mercy, and humility.  

Work with daily faithfulness

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?”…What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (6,8)

God’s people ask Micah if they can come to the temple and complete a ritual to appease God once again. When Micah speaks, he’s correcting and exposing their faulty idea that they can redeem their wickedness with some mere rituals on the weekend.

He’s telling the people, “God wants your whole life! He has told you, O people, what is good! To be faithful to him by doing justice and loving kindness and walking humbly with him – not just when you show up to the temple – but also at work!”

This is so important. There are masses of people today who have come to believe that if you do your spiritual good deeds – if you look good on the weekend – then the rest of your week doesn’t matter, and you can live however you wish. But Micah 6 absolutely strikes down that thinking, confirming that God wants all of us – every day of the week.

Knowing, then, how we are to work, God give us three applications through Micah 6:

1. Work to give God glory and serve your neighbor.

As we work justly, mercifully, and humbly – in whatever our vocation is – we reflect the image of Christ to the world. We show the world what Jesus is like as we put his justice and mercy and humility on display. How we work is an opportunity to reflect Christ’s character to a world that desperately needs to see him!

2. Work to bring flourishing to yourself and others.

Wicked work may flourish for a moment, but in the end it will be fruitless as it leads us to hurt others and live under the rebuke of God. Yes, godly work is difficult. But it will help others to flourish, and it will cause us to flourish as we become trusted and relied upon by bosses and clients. Above all, we will always have the flourishing of living in the delight of the Father.

3. Work to grow in Christ-likeness.

Your vocation is a lab for your sanctification. This means that your spiritual growth is not only dependent on what you do away from work; your growth in Christ is shaped and measured by how you work as well! Too many of us measure spiritual maturity strictly by our devotional times, small groups, and going to church. But Micah 6 shows us that we are to measure and pursue Christ-likeness by our work, too!

Believer, Christ did justice, loved mercy, and walked in humility to save you. Your High Priest offered himself faithfully as the all-sufficient sacrifice for you and never once walked in wickedness. So let’s be like Jesus and reflect his image, showing people what he’s like as we do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God…at work!

Tom Olson

Tom Olson is the campus pastor at The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Barrington, Ill. He and his wife Kari have three children—Kettie, Tovie, and Tommy.
Tom Olson is the campus pastor at The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Barrington, Ill. He and his wife Kari have three children—Kettie, Tovie, and Tommy.