ServeRDU Theme 2019
This year’s ServeRDU Celebration theme is “Do Justice From a Heart of Mercy.” Micah 6:8 says, “...and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”. Typically, we’ve thought of this verse as commanding us to do three things: do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. In Generous Justice, however, Tim Keller points out that God’s expectation for His people is actually to do one thing, to walk humbly with him by doing justice from a heart of mercy.
The Hebrew word for mercy here is chesedh, which emphasizes motivation and attitude and describes God’s unconditional grace and compassion (which interestingly is the same word used throughout the OT to describe God’s attitude toward his people).
The Hebrew word for justice is mishpat, which emphasizes action and is a comprehensive view of justice that includes both retributive and restorative aspects. It is used over 200 times in the Old Testament to focus on the vulnerable. We often overemphasize the retributive or punishment aspect of justice which then seems to make justice the opposite of mercy. But because justice is both retributive and restorative, mercy can be the source or motivation for doing justice. Keller concludes that to walk with God means to do justice, out of merciful love.
What is really amazing about all of this is that Micah 6:8 and understanding Biblical Justice tells us the story of the gospel. God’s merciful love for us, chesedh, sent Jesus to die and pay the penalty for our sin (retributive justice) and then gave us his inheritance (restorative justice). Jesus’ death and resurrection display the full scope of Biblical Justice and his intent is that his people would not only proclaim this good news but also reflect this in our lives and our work.
All of this helps us to see that what the Lord requires of us is to walk in a way that demonstrates the gospel message by doing justice from a heart of mercy. And this is what we want everyone who participates in ServeRDU Week to understand as the purpose behind ServeRDU and why we want our people to serve throughout the year.
Pastor KJ Hill
Community Development and Outreach Pastor