“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
What are you pursuing in life? What are you chasing every day? What goals are you seeking and striving to achieve? This proverb tells us that at the heart of our daily pursuit, we should pursue “righteousness and kindness.” This is our mission. Our purpose. Our calling.
When the alarm goes off in the morning, people get up and begin the process of going about their day. Some start their day with focus and energy, others are indifferent and stuck on autopilot, while still others are negative and grumpy.
Followers of Christ should be in the first category. When our alarm goes off in the morning, we should arise with laser focus and great energy. If we understand the significance and magnitude of our calling, how could it be otherwise? First, the Lord has redeemed us and called us to himself, and then he has sent us into the world to reflect his image and represent his kingdom. He has called and commissioned us to be his ambassadors to a world that is in great need of the good news of the gospel.
At the heart of our calling -- at the heart of what the Lord has commissioned us to do every day -- is the pursuit of righteousness (tzedek) and kindness (hesed). These two principles are the twin pillars of the kingdom of God.
Jeremiah tells us that God delights in righteousness and kindness: “Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love (hesed), justice, and righteousness (tzedek) in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9.23-24)
Tzedek means “rightness.” It refers to something or someone that operates rightly and in alignment with the standards for which it is designed. It is acting in alignment with what is “right.” God is the great Designer, and he has established the standards of tzedek. There is a way that God has designed people and the world to operate.
Hesed is the Hebrew word for “steadfast love” or “lovingkindness.” It is the OT equivalent of the NT word for unconditional love … agape. It means uncommon commitment to serving others.
Our primary daily pursuit should be rightness and lovingkindness. These two pillars should guide all of our other pursuits. Whatever other goals we pursue, we must submit them to rightness and lovingkindness. As Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, the pursuit of righteousness and love is the way of the kingdom.
“Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6.31-33)
When your alarm goes off in the morning, arise and be focused in your pursuit of truth and love. Embrace the chase.