James 2:14-26 says, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 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? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”
In our world, many people are suffering. In our world, many people are going through untold difficulties. Many homes house lonely, depressed people. Many communities comprise abused and hurting people. On the streets today are many people enslaved by powerful addictions. In a corner somewhere is a crushed soul mourning the death of a loved one. In the bars and restaurants are some people who are simply lost and in desperate need of guidance. All these people need Christians to respond to them through prayer, love, acts of mercy, shelters, rehabilitation centers, and Jesus! As The Salvation Army, we respond to suffering humanity through our holiness. Holiness demands that we wholeheartedly serve God. Holiness demands that we tirelessly serve our suffering neighbors.
The co-founder of The Salvation Army, General William Booth is recorded to have said, “Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again–until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.” (The Founder’s Messages to Soldiers, Christianity Today, October 5, 1992, p. 48.)
- Our faith is ineffective if our faith lacks corresponding action.
- We need to weld our red hot evangelical piety to our compassionate witness.
- We need to pray with one eye closed to connect with God, and another eye open to see the need around us.
- We need to worship God with our voices, and with the same voices to defend the weak.
- We need to be the voice of the oppressed, the abused, the poor, and the suffering.
Lest We Forget
- We are to be the voice of Christ which cries out for the emancipation of sex slaves and child laborers.
- We are to be the hands of Christ which bind the wounds of the brokenhearted.
- We are to be the hands of Christ which give a basket of food to the hungry single mother.
- We need to coach the young man who is going to his first job interview after overcoming his drug addiction.
- We need to hold the hand of the lonely, ailing nursing home resident.
- We need to offer free household furniture to the fire victims.
- We need to unlock the shelter doors to the domestic violence victim fleeing her abuser.
- We need to console the family and conduct a memorial service for their son who died at war.
We cannot continue to ignore and turn a blind eye to the plight of suffering masses.
We cannot let any red tape; fear, opposition, and lack stop us from doing something.
Are you so heavenly minded, that the matters of earth do not concern you?