What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 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.
(James 2:14-17 NRSV)
The faith/works discussion is 2,000 years old, but we still struggle with it.
The problem is that having faith is fairly easy. We believe in God, trust in Jesus, and worship regularly and devoutly.
However, when the going gets tougher, when we actually have to do something about our faith, take a stand, whether it is popular or not, face opposition or even real danger, what do we do? Pass the buck? Think someone else will fix it?
There are children dying now in sub-Saharan Africa, for lack of food. The pictures of these babies will break your heart: Their eyes are large because their cheeks are sunken, their mothers’ eyes are hopeless because they have no food for themselves and precious little for their children.
My arms are not long enough to reach every hungry child. My wallet is not full enough to help every person in need. But there are ways to make a difference.
Recently, at an intersection I pass every day, there has been a man standing there, holding a sign, asking for food. For various reasons I passed by without stopping. However, the other day, I rolled down my window and told him how to find a place that would help him. He thanked me.
I haven’t seen him since.