A man stopped me outside of Micah’s Thanksgiving Eve service one November. “I know your story,” he said. And he began to tell me about a former USA Today reporter who left a promising journalism career to go work for Martin Luther King, Jr. When asked why he would exchange stability and prestige for involvement in a movement many had their doubts about, he replied, “I got tired of seeing ghettos.”
It’s true, this reporter and I have something in common. I left my own newspaper job about three years ago to become the director of Micah Ecumenical Ministries, a rapidly developing non-proft birthed by Fredericksburg-area churches. But it wasn’t a dislike for the news business or favor for another job that drove either of us into a career change. It was simply that we were called.
Something about how the world was working in our times demanded that we devote our skills to changing it. That’s call. It’s where our greatest joy intersects with the world’s greatest need. For the USA Today reporter it was public relations work surrounding the race inequality issue. For me it is developing programs that lessen any reason for people in our community to live in poverty and homelessness. For others it is work with the environment, young people or the elderly. No matter the cause, it is all accomplishing a great thing.
The Lord requires us in Micah 6:8 to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. We do that by devoting our lives to a mission that fulfills us and improves God’s creation. In many cases that means leaving our comfort zone, trying to accomplish things we feel unqualified for or making unpopular decisions. But that’s what call is all about. We would all find ourselves living in more compassionate communities if each person responded to call, regardless of the consequences.
St. Francis of Assisi put forth a great challenge when he said, “Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words.” That’s the thing about taking the WORD of God to the streets. We can SAY many things, with little influence on people who aren’t ready to hear what we have to say. Or we can DO a few powerful things out of LOVE for a neighbor. And we can have great impact on those who’ve previously accessed limited Christ-like examples. Humbly WALKING the community with that message of action and kindness is what Micah 6:8 is all about. It is within this blog that I hope you will hear that “word on the street” and be called to act with your own steps of compassion.