When I was 4 years old I lived on a dead end street with all retired families. However, there was a boy, let’s call him Joey, who would come to visit his grandparents from time to time. He was about five years older than me, but since I was the only boy on the street, he was more than willing to play when he came to visit. Needless to say, I looked up to Joey and did nearly anything he asked me to do without thinking twice about it.
One day, Joey was sitting on his porch while his grandma was picking weeds in her garden. I walked over and said hello. Joey said to me, “my grandma is being really nice to me today, we should go get her something to say thanks.” As usual, I followed along without question. We walked down the street until Joey noticed a house with an Easter egg display in their front lawn. He told me that we should take several of those eggs and give them to his grandmother. Once again, I followed along without questioning. Shortly after we had walked away from that house, our hands filled with eggs, a woman from down the street, who had witnessed the entire event, began yelling at us. Joey and I started to run, but the women eventually caught us and then informed my mother, and Joey’s grandmother, of our thievery.
Here’s why I’m sharing this story with you today: I think there are a lot of times where we as humans want to show God our thanks but we don’t always find the best ways to do this. Often times we try and show our thanks for God by going out and trying to convert all our friends, or by calling out the evil that we see in other people’s lives. Sometimes in our efforts to try and “win people for Jesus” we end up doing more harm to the Christian movement than good.
I think the strangest thing about Joey, me, and the Easter eggs, is that Joey thought stealing eggs for his grandmother was a good way to show his appreciation (and I followed along!). Wouldn’t his grandmother have figured out very quickly that these were stolen eggs? Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Joey to just help his grandmother in the garden?
“He has showed you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
We can make our faith so complicated, when really it’s quite simple. Joey and I wanted to show his grandmother that we were thankful. This is a good thing. In the same way, we want to show God that we are thankful. But we don’t need to over think this! What God desires more than anything else is for to act with mercy and justice and humility. Living our life like that is the best way to tell God, “Thanks”.
May we learn to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Amen.