Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honour.
This sounds like a nice thought… if we try to be good, good things will happen. But if you really read it again, it’s more than just a happy idea… it’s an instruction.
What really strikes me in this text is the word ‘pursues.’ Not ‘whoever likes righteousness and love’ or ‘whoever hopes for righteousness or love’ or ‘whoever tries’ but whoever pursues.
Dictionary.com defines pursue as this:
pur·sue[per-soo] Show IPA verb, -sued, -su·ing.
verb (used with object)
1.to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, etc.; chase.
2.to follow close upon; go with; attend: Bad luck pursued him.
3.to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end,object, purpose, etc.).
4.to proceed in accordance with (a method, plan, etc.).
5.to carry on or continue (a course of action, a train ofthought, an inquiry, studies, etc.).
So to pursue righteousness and love, you’re chasing it. Following it closely. Striving for it, planning for it, continuing on it it. It’s an active thing, pursuing. You’re working hard for it, continually, actively.
If we move on to righteousness and love, I feel like we need to put those together, hand in hand. We can’t pursue righteousness alone. We can’t pursue just love. And we can’t hold them apart, keeping them boxed into separate areas of our lives.
We can’t go to church on Sundays and Bible Study on Tuesdays and then go after that hot guy down the block who declares he think the Bible is a bunch of bunk. It may sound fun, but if you two work out and he never comes around, the righteousness and the love are going to eventually clash. If you get married, do you get married in a church? Will your church even marry you if you’re not both members? Will your kids go to church? Even if you don’t have kids, don’t you think it will grate on you that he thinks you’re silly?
Likewise, if you’re working hard at being incredibly righteous but you’re not doing it with love… well, then you have your own personal version of the Crusades going on. You may not be bearing a sword, but if you’re cutting people down left and right with your righteous tongue but not showing them any love… well, Richard the Lionhearted… you, my friend, are not going to find life, prosperity, and honour knocking cheerfully on your doorstep. If you’re always ‘in a fight with someone’ you are going to be stressed out, anxious, and eventually you are going to start laying some low blows and snapping out cruel things. It’s hard to prosper under those circumstances.
So in conclusion, I feel like this text is saying that we need to actively pursue love and righteousness, both together hand and hand. If we do so, we are bound to find life, prosperity, and honour.
(I’m trying to get back into blogging, and I also think it’s important for me to put the most important part of my life into it. So what better way to start than with doing meditations on texts on Sundays, especially if I wind up staying home with my kids in the morning.)