James 2:15-16: “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”
The faith and deeds discussion continues with a practical example. Here, someone is presented with basic needs: clothing and food. They have the means to meet the demand, but simply wish them well and send them on their way. Their words fall on deaf ears because the hunger is so loud, the cold is noisy. I often wonder how many people pray for the starving people in the world but do nothing.
I’m not advocating for giving yourself into poverty, although some may be called to give away everything. I’m merely talking about making sacrifices so that you can give when a need arises. I know of some very generous people that get tremendous joy from extravagant giving. I also know of people who would be considered poor that also get incredible pleasure from sacrificial giving. Specifically, one lady skips one meal a week so she can have a few bucks to put in the offering plate each week. When was the last time you skipped dinner so you could bless others? I know it has been a while for me.
Our motivation for caring for the poor should not be the good feelings we get or even to assuage our guilt. Our reason should be the Gospel. We give to the poor, underprivileged, and underserved, so they know they have a God (not us) who loves them and looks after them. This means it needs to be made known that we are blessing others because we have been blessed. Even better is when the receiver doesn’t know who the giver is.
I’d like to challenge you to examine your faith and determine if it is producing the kind of fruit James tells us it should. If so, praise God! If not, how can you take the next step to bring your life in line with the Word of God?
Some questions to consider:
-Where are you substituting words for actions?
-Where can you cut your living to increase your giving?-What is one physical need of another you can meet today?