Years ago, I had very poignant conversation with an elderly member of a former church. Mother's Day was approaching, and she told me about how, every year her children seemed to compete with one another in giving her the most elaborate and indulgent gift. She said, "I tell them the same thing every year, but none of them seem to believe me. I tell them that I appreciate these lovely gifts, but I would much rather have them come to church with me. I would trade all the gifts in for the chance to sit with my kids and grandkids in church." Sadly, the only time I ever saw those children in the same worship service with their mother was when I performed her funeral a few years later. They just didn't get it.
I wonder how often we're that thick-headed in our relationship to God? Last Sunday, we looked at how God views our religious activities. In Amos 5:21-23, God told the Israelites how much He hated their assemblies, songs and sacrifices. It wasn't because God was anti-religion; they were merely following the rituals prescribed in the law of Moses. Instead, it was their lifestyle that rendered their religion meaningless.
This Sunday, we'll look at the following verse: Amos 5:24. This may be the most famous verse in all of Amos, and it tells us what God really wants from us. As we study what righteousness and justice should look like in our nation, our church and our personal lives, I predict we'll uncover some applications that will have us talking heatedly over Sunday dinner. More importantly, I hope they lead to positive change for all of us.