Each one of us has questions for God. Are we ready to respond to his answers?
Through a probing question, God changed the direction of my life. H.W. Berky, my chemistry professor heard me play the piano in chapel. He assured me that I could pursue a major in chemistry, but he asked, “What are you going to do with your God-given talent in music?” Micah, the prophet, asked God some probing questions: “With 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? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” Micah 6:6-7 (NIV)
What questions might you or I ask as we approach a God who is ever-present, all-knowing, and unlimited in power? As a musician I could ask, “Would God be pleased if I wrote a song that made the charts?” A person of wealth might ask, “Will the Lord be pleased if I leave a legacy with my name on a plaque or a building?” A pastor might ask, “Will the Lord be pleased if I spend days and nights on sermons and serving my congregation, even overlooking the needs of my family?” A person of lesser means might aspire to more than is realistic, and eventually find himself or herself drained and desperate.
Before you and I allow ourselves to give up hope, let’s ponder God’s answer to Micah’s questions: “He has shown you…what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:6-8 (NIV) If we look around, we can find people who exhibit these qualities. Some have wealth; some don’t. Some have many gifts, others might have one or two gifts. All of us are gifted, and hopefully, are grateful and giving. The opening line of Psalm 115 provides perspective for us as we endeavor to serve: “Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” (NIV) When I was a student at Bluffton College, now Bluffton University, I observed the life style of dedicated professors whom I would describe as “Micah 6 People.” Most of them had to supplement their income through other employment. H.W. Berky, my chemistry professor, whom I mentioned earlier, was a Renaissance man. He taught chemistry, philosophy, coached the tennis team, and played cello in the orchestra. He was the outstanding graduate at Princeton in the class of 1914. He was gifted and humble. One evening he came to the men’s dorm to lead a devotional. He shared a thought that has impacted my life. He said, “I’m a man of prayer, but as I age, my concern is that I make my life a prayer.” These words from Colossians 3:23 are most applicable to all Christ followers, whatever a person’s role in life. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” May we live life to the fullest, reflecting the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV) To God be the glory!
Ron Sprunger, Professor Emeritus at Ashland Theological Seminary, 5eptember 25, 2020