Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? James 2:14-17 Message
Well come on now, who does that? Who would run across an old friend who’d been out of work, turned out of their home, half starved and not do a thing? Most of us! We’re self consumed, busy with our own problems, too focused on our ‘smart’ phones to pay attention to them.
I’ve never seen such a self absorbed society as we have today. They’d rather throw money at a problem then to actually be involved in solving the problem. Homelessness has reached an all time high, not just among the young, but among the elderly as well. The pension they’d saved up wasn’t enough. The savings has been eaten up by the cost of medications to save a spouse. They’re too old to be of value in the workplace that’s been taken over by lazy, entitled folk who feel the world owes them.
I digress! This chapter in James is actually devoted to faith and works. Let’s read on verses 18-24;
I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”
Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.
Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?
Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?
My conclusion to this short thought for the day is this; your belief is only that unless you put action to it. It’s fruitless, doesn’t produce, barren, dead as a doornail, if you know what I mean. There is no fruit unless seed’s been planted. Planting takes work. I can hold a seed given to me and as long as it remains in my hand, it’s only a seed. But seeds weren’t meant to be stored forever, they were meant to be planted. Why? So they can produce more seed to be planted.
One tomato holds countless seeds. One seed can produce a vine that bears countless tomatoes on it, each containing countless seeds. You see, if I eat the tomato but plant none, next year I will not have any more tomatoes. But if I hold back the seed of one and plant those next year, I will have enough for a garden full to eat, sell and give away.
Seedless tomatoes is faith without works. There’s absolutely nothing to plant so I will see nothing returned. Tomatoes were made to produce more seed, just as you were created to help others. It’s the kind seeds that you plant today that come back as harvest. You will be blessed and so will others. Put your faith with your works. Stop just believing the world will be a better place and start being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.
Father, thank you for the seeds you’ve given me. May I not hoard those seeds but give to others who have need of them. May I show Your love to others by sharing the truth that’s in Your Word and lives in me. I have so much to be thankful for, but just knowing the truth isn’t enough. I want to bear fruit. I want others to not just SEE, but experience You in a real and tangible way. I want to be known as Your friend! Lead me to the friend who needs help and give me the tools to help them. It’s in Jesus name I pray, Amen.