The final element in this brief series of readings based on Micah 6:8 is ‘Walking Humbly with God.’
This is a totally counter-cultural idea in the current celebrity centred world. There is something inside just about all of us that yearns for the famous five minutes on the telly, or to strut the red carpet somewhere and be photographed by the waiting paparazzi. It goes against the grain to stand aside and let others take the limelight and revel in the attention. It is even harder to walk in the background and become nothing more than a servant of others. But that is what Jesus Himself did.
He gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2)
That is the humility to which He calls us even today.
v 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls
If you were asked the question ‘What did Jesus tell people to do?’ I wonder what you would say. You might recall him saying ‘Follow me’ or ‘Repent and believe the gospel’ or even ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This invitation in Matthew’s Gospel is unlikely to be among the first ones you come up with! It is important however because he draws attention to his own character, a humble one, in order to show the pattern of life we should adopt. As we yoke ourselves up to the humble and gentle Jesus we find rest – in contrast to a frenetically active religious life.
If you have ever seen two animals yoked together and working, it becomes obvious that they are going in the same direction at the same speed and achieve a common purpose. They are working together and soon develop similar habits and characteristics. The Jesus-follower is yoked, harnessed, to Jesus and soon finds her/himself walking in step with Jesus and sharing a common purpose. Because He is humble and gentle those same character traits begin to rub off on the Christian follower. Humility is not found by following a set of rules, or by achieving certain goals, it grows as we learn to walk in step with our humble Lord. The more we discover and experience of the life of Jesus the more we grow into the life of humility and gentleness. All the unworthy traits of selfishness, pushiness, pride and arrogance begin to fall away as we discover the deeper joy of servanthood. And bear in mind, there is a price to pay for such a lifestyle – it took Jesus to the cross.