Pastor Chris Tweitmann
Have you ever had one of those moments when you seem to be in the right place, with the right people, perhaps experiencing just what you want in that moment? Things are going so well. You are so content, so satisfied that you find yourself thinking, whispering or maybe even saying aloud, “Ah, this is the good life.”
The Good Life. We all want it. But what exactly is it?
Many have tried to define it. Socrates. Plato. Aristotle. Oprah Winfrey. One Republic.
For many of us, “the good life” is what we are seeking; it is that for which we are working so hard. We aim for a good job to support ourselves, a good neighborhood to live in, good schools to send our kids to. We look for a good movie for Friday night, a good pair of shoes, a good vacation spot. We want a good return for our money and a good solution to a problem we face. According to this logic, if we amass enough good things, then we’ll be living “the good life.” And the sooner we can get it, the better.
But such moments tend to be fleeting. Today’s achievements and acquisitions quickly become tomorrow’s old news. In a world dominated by social media, one’s personal mood and social status can shift as quickly and easily as a key stroke and an emojicon.
For some, achieving “the good life” is more like arriving at a destination – working for the weekend or ultimately, reaching retirement. But if “the good life” is something we work toward, what does that mean for those who die before they experience it? If “the good life” is just living for Friday, what does one do when only three days later, they have to face Monday – Thursday again?
Our search for the good life can be endless. But it doesn’t have to be. This brings us to the biblical prophet Micah. We may live at a different time than Micah, but as we’ve seen through his writings, the good life quest hasn’t changed much. Across the first five chapters, God speaking through Micah names how people were pouring their lives into what ultimately wouldn’t fulfill them. They devoted themselves to idols that, being false gods, could not truly deliver what they promised. They went after wealth as life’s high goal regardless of whether it was justly gained. They prided themselves on personal and national accomplishments even though such success was achieved through the exploitation of others.
The pending invasions by first the Assyrians and then the Babylonian empire that Micah foretold served as an external reflection of an inner reality for Israel and Judah. God’s judgment always reveals the heart. On the outside, it appeared that God’s people were thriving, but on the inside, they were rotting to the core.
However, as we’ve also heard through Micah, God’s judgment is not divorced from God’s mercy. A vision of peace – of restoration, wholeness and flourishing – is on the horizon. A Shepherd-King from the little town of Bethlehem will come and gather the Lord’s people one day and lead them into “the good life.”
Join us this Sunday as we conclude this sermon series. One last time, in one of the most familiar passages in this book, Micah is going to speak to the people on behalf of the Lord. With the mountains and the hills as His witnesses, God will raise the question of what is good and then share the answer as to “the good life” – what it is and how it might be experienced. Together what will hear about “the good life” is not something we don’t know. It is something we have failed to remember. It is the life we were created for but we have forgotten. It is the life that awaits us when we look to and follow the God who is entirely good.
Grace to you!