Pentecost 24, Tuesday, Year C

Inspired by Zechariah 7:1-14

“The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.  But they refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears in order not to hear.”  Zechariah 7:8-11 (NRSV)

There’s a lot of attention placed on discovering God’s will for your life.  What profession does God want you to work in?  Whom does he want you to marry?  How many children does he want you to have?  What church does he want you to go to?  While it’s good to seek the Lord’s will in all aspects of our lives, our focus is decidedly self-centered.

Much less attention is placed on living out God’s will as it is clearly stated multiple times throughout the bible.  In fact, we actively avoid many of his commandments because obeying them would infringe on our own ideas of God’s will regarding our own individual happiness, prosperity, and self-righteousness.

King Darius sent two men to inquire about a specific worship practice, ostensibly to ensure the people’s worship would be acceptable to the Lord.  However God pointed out that their worship practices benefited themselves more than God, and sent word to the people how they could best honor and celebrate him: by practicing justice and kindness to one another and by not oppressing the weak and vulnerable in their society.  God commanded these same things through many prophets at many points in Israel’s history, and when Jesus came he proclaimed the same message.

Yet like those who claimed to follow God in the past, we have refused to listen to his commandments.  We benefit too much from injustice and apathy, from the exploitation of the weak and vulnerable.  We’d rather focus on niceties like proper worship practices and how minutely God is involved with every detail of our lives, and ignore how our actions negatively impact the health and wellbeing of others, whether directly or indirectly.

Seek the Lord’s will for your life.  Search out ways to practice justice and kindness.  Become aware of how the vulnerable are exploited, and actively work to end such oppression.  All the rest will fall into place.

Let us pray.  God of mercy, you desire kindness and justice for all the people you’ve created.  Open our eyes to the consequences others pay for our thoughtless actions, that we may obey your will and demonstrate the power of your love to the world.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.