James 2:1-10, 14-17
(Click above for the complete reading)
“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.”
(Click the title above for the sermon)
This text from James’ 2nd chapter is all about how we treat people differently based on external things – like appearance.
James is writing to the early church – and reminding them that there is a big gap between what the world outside the church looks like and what this new community of Christ looks like. When the world outside the walls of the church divides itself into categories – male and female, black and white, slave and free, rich and poor – James is telling the early church that inside this new community of Christians there simply cannot be those divisions anymore. We are to treat people as children of God – because that is what we all are.
James is quite specific about what is happening in the church at the time, so it’s pretty easy to hear texts like the one from James chapter 2, and think it doesn’t apply to us. But it does.
How often do you look at someone and make a judgement about them?
How often do you decide whether or not someone is worthy of your care or notice based on a specific category? This isn’t about making us feel bad – it’s human nature – but we do need to at least be honest.
What are we supposed to do then, according to James? Go and do.
Faith without works is dead, James says. This doesn’t mean you are working on your behalf – no, that’s what Jesus did already. We KNOW what Good News means. We have experienced the love and grace of God already. We have been claimed and called Children of God.
Nothing we do can change that for us. But our actions can certainly change life for those around us.
But James wants us to ask the question – what does this good news mean to my neighbor? What does it look like to the homeless kid couch surfing, or the single mom working two jobs, or for the kid coming out to his parents, or for a Syrian Refugee?
You. The Good News looks like you.
Questions to Ponder or Discuss
1. What has the Good News of Christ done for you and in your life?
2. Teddy Roosevelt once famously said: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Make a list and figure out these things and what you can do with them. (What it is you have, what you can do with it, and where you can do it.)
3. What would it take for you to go and do something with that list above? What holds you back?
First, listen to (or watch) this song by Matthew West, Do Something. Then, think about what it is you can do right now for those in need in the world.
It’s time for US to get up and do something.