Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Modern Day Warm and Well Fed

Scripture Reference: James 2

Something hit me this morning. I tend to look at James 2:16 as being something I can only do to homeless and poor people around me:

"If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"

However, the whole point of the passage is to put your faith into practice, and to not just to mouth worthless clich├ęs to get away from someone else's sob story. It's not (just) about homeless people. So, with that in mind, I realized that there is a modern day equivalent to this verse:

"If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; I'll pray for your need," but does nothing to help be an answer to that prayer, what good is it?"

Some prayer requests - especially for those that require physical healing - are beyond our ability to do anything about. But what about those that we can do something about? What if someone is feeling lonely? What if they are struggling with self doubt? What if they are in need of anything that we have the ability to do something about?

James goes on to say "do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?" Useless? Ouch. But... maybe... possibly.... is that why we pray for things for other people, and never see those prayers answered? Is it because we are supposed to be the answers, and our faithful prayer without deeds is turning up useless?

Take the loneliness issue for an example. People usually don't come out and say "I'm lonely." They just start saying things like "I am not feeling very connected with any of the people around here." I've heard many people say this - and have even said it myself plenty of times. The typical reaction is "well, I'll pray for God to send some marvelous comrades your way, brother/sister." Several weeks go by, and the person is still feeling "disconnected." And the other person probably is still praying fruitless prayers, or has forgotten the whole issue by now. Hello! Pick up the phone and give the person a call? Is that so hard? I often wonder why so many people are so reluctant to become the answers to their own prayers.


Bird said...

Ahh ... you've got to love James. What Luther called "pure straw" is actually the perfect balance to "The Force" of dead faith professed once and then forgotten.

Kudos to you if you get the Star Wars reference. ;-)

Matt C. said...

Dude - I'm going to have to check in my Geek card. I don't get the SW reference :( Or maybe I just don't get the Luther reference... I am more than a little rusty on Martin Luther....

Bird said...

Maybe it was a bad reference. I was merely suggesting that James "brings balance" to dead faith whereas Anakin was supposed to "bring balance" to The Force on SW.

Luther didn't like James very much, hence the slam, calling it "pure straw."

Matt C. said...

Oh no - good reference, I get it now. I was just rusty on Luther and was trying to connect the straw reference to SW. Very true.... Anakin brought balance in a way that no one was really looking for, and in a way that was hard for some to take. Pretty good analogy, actually.