My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity. Someone might claim, “You have faith and I have action.” But how can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action. It’s good that you believe that God is one. Ha! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble with fear. Are you so slow? Do you need to be shown that faith without actions has no value at all? What about Abraham, our father? Wasn’t he shown to be righteous through his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? See, his faith was at work along with his actions. In fact, his faith was made complete by his faithful actions. So the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and God regarded him as righteous. What is more, Abraham was called God’s friend. So you see that a person is shown to be righteous through faithful actions and not through faith alone. In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute shown to be righteous when she received the messengers as her guests and then sent them on by another road? As the lifeless body is dead, so faith without actions is dead. (James 2:14-26, CEB)
How many times a day do you tell someone, “I’m praying for you”?
And what does that actually mean?
After all of the shootings, which seems to be a daily occurrence now, we hear people say sending thoughts and prayers. But what are the thoughts and what are the prayers?
I recall seeing somewhere a meme of a Pope saying that prayer is us asking God to do something about hunger (or insert worldly need here) and then going and feeding the hungry.
Faith without works is dead, and we as Lutherans have a hard time with this because we are saved by grace so we can’t earn our way but just because works don;t get us to heaven doesn’t mean we don’t have to do them. James clearly says Faith without works is dead. It will help no one.
And our out verse for doing things as Lutherans is Ephesians 2:8-9 “You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. ” We can not earn our way, that is God’s doing, but we leave off the next verse, verse 10 which says “Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.” God planned good things for us to do to be the way we live our lives. We are saved to do good for others.
So don’t just say I’m praying, do something.
Loving People. Loving God.