Taking on "the Life"
We can, generally speaking, agree that to live a good life, one should tell the truth (in love and respect for the other), live and trade honestly, keep a civil tongue (and refrain from slander and insult), and do right by others (refrain from cheating and profiteering). Without regard to how we subscribe to those virtues, those basic, good humanitarian values make wise sense. Anyone, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, animist or true pagan will admit that the ethic of the "good" life requires that we play well together in the sandbox of our mutual, mortal existence.
Today's readings, then make sense. That being true, then why do we find it so difficult to live into that ethos? How much of a trial is it for us to accept and treasure our neighbor's interests over and against that ever-present impulse to look out for and act in the interests of "number one?"
Worse yet, if we follow Paul, our job is not just to be good people; but to be good people in relationship with each other in Christ. While Proverbs offers a host of aphorisms and truisms that that when observed would make any human "successful," Paul asks for more. He wants us to embrace a virtuous life because Jesus Christ breaks down the assumption of people who are not "us" being "other" and thus legitimate targets for our self-serving shenanigans and hijinks.
So, beyond just accepting a call to a better way of being human by doing the "right" thing...the challenge we face in Christ is to recognize and embrace every other being as "us."
In Christ, there is no "other."
Now, that is a high calling.