Epiphany 4, 2023

My daughter has an assistant manager at her workplace who is a thorough-going company man. He has bought into the system entirely. Every week he practices another of Benjamin Franklin’s virtues. This week it is “Industry.” We have a penchant in our sinful and fallen condition to ascribe to ourselves far too much significance. Franklin’s advice on industry may make for a good employee, but it might be a disaster when it comes to our relationship with God. All our attention on our doing, on our being productive and busy, takes our eyes off of Him who is the author and perfecter, the source and the goal of our faith.

The readings this week can be seen to revolve around this point. Paul assures us that it is Christ’s cross which is at the center of it all. The world, focused on its business and busy-ness thinks this is foolishness. Jesus, in the beatitudes, calls everyone blessed. It doesn’t seem to matter what they have done, what they are, He has a blessing for them. Micah, who is confronting his 8th century BC audience of “doers” tells them that rivers of oil and thousands of sacrifices cannot move God. But we don’t have to move God. He is already right where we need Him to be. So Micah exhorts us to walk humbly with Him, doing what is right and loving kindness because He is right and kind.

This week the preacher might just flip the old exclamation: Don’t just do something, hurry up and stand around!

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