Happiness by Bob Wickizer

Happiness
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Micah 6:1-8; Psalm 37:1-6; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Matthew 5:1-12
4 Epiphany
3 February 2002

WHAT does the Lord require of you?
What DOES the Lord require of you?
What does the LORD require of you?

I could continue with this but I won't. A simple seven word sentence raised by the prophet Micah at a time of Israel's prosperity. Responding to the cruelty, ingratitude and injustice of an affluent society, Micah simply posed the question as a backdrop to the way religion was practiced by the Israelites during times of plenty. In its original form, Micah delivered this prophecy like a judgment decree from a court. His stinging critique of the way the wealthy urban Jews of Jerusalem practiced their religion on the outside while violating their covenant with God in their daily life leads me directly to the question, "If we were on trial for being Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict any of us?"

Are any of us much different than the prosperous Jews Micah criticized? We love our creature comforts at almost any cost. We love our American lifestyles. Yet we go to church trying to heed Christ's call while constantly falling short. We hang in the balance between our love of the secular world and a nagging suspicion that we hold back from fully committing ourselves as Christians. For many the desire for happiness and inner peace motivates us to search endlessly in the secular world or to "go for the gusto" as the old beer commercials used to say.

At a hunting lodge where I meet friends every year for waterfowl hunting, the same family has run this commercial fishing and winter hunting operation for several generations. The owner's spouse recently told me an astonishing story. She is an attractive woman with a lively nature that keeps the hired commercial fishing hands and the duck hunters completely in line. She cooks for this surly bunch of men and with her husband often hangs out after dinner. One even ...


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