Faith in Action
Chances are you know someone in need - a nursing home resident, a disabled neighbor, an orphaned child, or a friend who is grieving the loss of her husband. You probably even know someone who's lost a child. What are you doing to help her? You're praying? That's a good thing. But that's not the only thing we can or should do for those in need.
Put your faith into action. You might be thinking, "I can't do anything tangible; I don't even know where to begin." Maybe the situation makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you don't know how to approach the issue. Maybe you're too busy. You have your own problems. You're working. You have kids to care for. You have "stuff" to do - obligations, appointments, chores, homework, meetings, and whatever-else-you-do. If you pray, then it's up to God to provide for them. Right? What if God wants to use YOU to answer the prayer? After all, why are we here? What is our purpose? Take a minute to think about that.
I get it. I'm no exception. It's not easy to carve out time for others. We're busy. We barely have time to pray. How are we supposed to do anything more than what we're already doing? We assume that if we pray, God will find someone to help those we're praying for. Yes, He will. Maybe that someone is you!
Do what it says. The word "do" means there is action required. Verse 27 continues, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." To visit means to take physical action. You must physically go to those in need and spend time with them. Unspotted from the world means you are not to do this for attention or praise. You are to do this out of genuine concern and love from deep within your heart.
We see further evidence of our call to action here in James 2:
Read that last line again: Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Have faith, yes. But do something with it!
Let me give you an example of faith in action. There was a homeless man living on the streets of my neighborhood. Many people passed by him day after day. He was often seen pushing his bike along the shoulder of the road. Many stuffed plastic bags hung from the handle bars. People often commented to one another, "That poor man. I wish someone could do something for him." One day someone did. A local resident decided to put her faith in action and started a social media campaign asking for tangible assistance. People started donating money and other items. Before long, the resident had raised enough funds to pay for a hotel room for him during the winter months. He was humble and graciously accepted what was given. Because of her action, he was able to sleep in a comfortable bed and enjoy running water, food, and a warm room. No longer was he forced to endure the elements.
After quite some time, we learned that he passed away in his sleep in the comfy bed of that hotel room. He was at peace. While this may seem like a sad ending, I am grateful that this man was able to spend his last few months in a warm room, knowing that people cared about him.
The story above has inspired me to put my faith in action as well. When my husband and I learned about a disabled woman in our town who has no family, we knew we needed to do something. We only met her two weeks ago and already we have made her a few meals, did her laundry, cleaned her house, and bought her a few nightgowns. The smile and tears on her face are proof that she desperately needed to know someone cares. We are beyond blessed to be able to help her!
One more verse I want to share is Luke 3:10-11.
What action can you take right now?
Can you give food to the hungry?
Make a meal for a neighbor.
Serve in a soup kitchen.
Can you provide clothing to those in need?
Donate excess items to charity
Or give clothes to a friend who cannot afford them right now.
Do you know someone who is sick?
Pick up her groceries.
Watch her kids so she can rest.
Make dinner for her and her family.
Clean her house.
What about someone who's lonely?
Read to her.
Or simply spend time with her and show her that you care.
The opportunities are endless. We just need to take action. What will you do this week to put your faith into action?