• I'm tired of saving the world! (Some perspective please)

    Posted by John

    17 April, 2012

    It's a new year. I sit down around a table with a wide-eyed and passionate new batch of Micah Challenge interns. After some initial introductions, the first thing we do is to spend some time looking at the story of the prophet Micah. While most people know the famous challenge Micah issued to God’s people – to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8) – not many people actually know much about who Micah was.

    Micah 6:8Micah 6:8Micah 6:8At the time Micah lived, the Israelites were under threat of invasion from the largest empire of the day – the Assyrians. The external pressure of potential exile was coupled with gross injustice within the nation – idolatry, oppression of the poor and misuse of power.  Micah’s message into this context was not a popular one, but this 8th Century BC prophet was a courageous man who spoke God’s words to the people of Israel at a time when they weren’t particularly interested in listening.

    I make sure to spend some time in the story of Micah at the beginning of every year because it gives perspective on what we are doing here at Micah Challenge.

    The 21st Century is very different to 8th Century BC in Israel. But it seems to me that we still have our fair share of idolatry, oppression of the poor, and misuse of power in this day and age.

    Later this week I'm taking some leave. I’ll take a break from detailed policy, complex systemic issues of corruption, the science of climate change and the theology of Christian engagement in public life. I'll take a break from the busyness. I'm pretty sure that when I do come up for breath I will realise that, at best, the reason why I do what I do has slipped to the back of my mind. At worst I will have completely forgotten why I do it.

    I'll find that I need some perspective - we all do sometimes.

    The question that Micah poses in Micah 6:8 always helps me regain some of that needed perspective – What does God require of me?

    There are plenty of wrong answers to that question. Some wrong answers are obvious. God doesn’t want physical sacrifices or repayments or gifts or bribes. Some are less obvious. For example, sometimes I need a reminder that God doesn’t need or require me to solve every problem in the world. In fact, in His word, God never calls us to love every single person on earth; we are simply commanded to love God and our neighbour.

    I need some perspective.

    It isn’t actually that complicated. What does God require of me? God wants my life. God expects a certain way of life. A way of life that oozes with justice, oozes with mercy and oozes with humility.

    If our new batch of interns can just learn a bit more about that way of life during their internship – and if the rest of us Micah Challenge supporters can manage to model that way of life in our interactions with the leaders of our nation – then 2012 will have been a successful year for the Micah Challenge campaign.


    John Beckett (known to most of us as JB) is the National Coordinator of Micah Challenge Australia. JB desires to see more and more Christians taking on justice, mercy and humility as a way of life and speaking, praying and acting for and with the global poor.