Monday, June 18: James 2:15-17

If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, go in peace, keep warm and eat your fill, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

Since we know that we are saved by grace through faith and there is nothing we can do in order to buy or earn our salvation, why does James assert that “so faith by itself, if it has not works, is dead”? It seems to be a contradiction! However, with deeper thought it becomes apparent that real faith demands of us to demonstrate our beliefs and respond to God’s infinite generosity with acts of gratitude. We must be willing to live out what we profess, which means reaching beyond ourselves and our circle of loved ones. It means responding to whatever need is identified from reading in worship to serving in a soup kitchen, from visiting the sick or shut-ins to donating food, from participating in church projects to giving an elderly person a ride to the doctor.

Whether we are called upon to use a talent for our congregation, to donate to Valley Interfaith, or to interact face-to-face with a Stephen Minister care-receiver, the opportunity to show our faith, be the Lord’s instrument, and give thanks for God’s goodness presents itself every day. How will we respond? Will we follow Christ’s lead as master caregiver? The reward is twofold: the gift of love you project to others and the fulfillment that is reflected back to us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your steadfast love and the care you show for us. May we in gratefulness pass that love and care forward to others. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Leslie Willet