“A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food. If you say to that person, ‘God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,’ but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing. In the same way, faith by itself—that does nothing—is dead.”
James 2:15-17 (NCV)
Right now it’s estimated that over 40 million people in the United States are unemployed. Some of them need food. Some of them are wondering how they’ll pay their rent or mortgage. And they need to know that they’re not forgotten, that they can count on others for support.It’s not enough to just tell them how sorry we are for their circumstances. Or to send out a tweet with a pious cliché.
Empathy isn’t enough. They need real help.
James says real faith is more than well wishes. Imagine if you walked up to someone in a food line and said, “Hey, I feel for you. Hang in there. Cheer up. Don’t worry, be happy.” Doesn’t that ring hollow in such desperate circumstances? They don’t just need your words; they need food.
Genuine faith is practical. It gets involved in people’s needs.
Jesus demonstrated this kind of faith. He didn’t just empathize with our pain and predicament. He came to earth to do something about the sin that separated us from God.
1 John 3:17 says, “Suppose someone has enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then God’s love is not living in that person” (NCV).
Your response to the pain of the people in your community will show the world what you believe. For instance, at Saddleback Church, we’ve launched drive-thru food pantries. With just one of those we were able to feed 840 families in one day. Your church may already be doing something similar but imagine what would happen if every congregation did this right now.
Genuine faith produces compassion. It says, “I will help you with your burden and show you the love of Christ.” Our faith is seen by what we do.
(By Pastor Rick Warren. http://pastorrick.com)
For further readings, follow our daily bible reading plan with us. Today's reading: Acts 28