In James 2:14-20, James says this, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works. ”Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe and they shudder. Foolish man. Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?” In James 2:26, we read, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”
Here’s my question for you to think about this week. “If every member in your church was as faithful as you, what would your church be like?” How much Kingdom work would be done? Is your church simply maintaining the “status quo” or are you really doing something on earth for Heaven’s sake?
Statistics tell us that the average American darkens the doors of a church three times in his/her life: when they are baptized (we throw water on them), when they are married (we throw rice on them) and for their funeral (we throw dirt on them). In other words, they come when they are “hatched,” “matched,” and “dispatched.” I’m not sure if those statistics are accurate for your church or not, but maybe it’s time to focus on just exactly what is being accomplished in your church.
Think about this. What is God’s purpose for your church in your community? What is God’s purpose for you in your church? See … life is more than work, play and rest. It’s more than “keeping up with the Joneses.” What will really matter once you draw your last breath is what you have accomplished for God.
Many times, people will come to church every time the church doors are open. But then they go home and never put into practical use what they learned. It’s like a body builder who has six-pack abs and muscles on top of muscles. They look like a human fireplug. But the real question is this. What is the practical application for all of those muscles? What can you do with them? Simply “show them off?” In most churches, 20 percent of the membership does 80 percent of the work. That is really sad.
I look at the social clubs in our community and I see their parking lots packed. I see their members out doing activities within the community and I have to ask myself, “Where is the church?” What are we doing?” Think about this for a minute. Where do you currently serve in your church. (The emphasis is on “you.”) Where do you serve in your church? If every member of your church was just as faithful as you are, what kind of a church would it be? I think you have answered that question when you think about your church and when you think about how involved you are.
Understand that what you say and what you do must line up. (Read that again, please.) Don’t be just a professor of your faith, but be a practitioner of your faith. Do something. Just do it. There is a story of a man who really didn’t do anything at his church and wasn’t really involved. Read this story and give it some thought this week. (And … just because the last line says “he’s sitting by the fire,” doesn’t mean he made it to Heaven.)
“He wasn’t much for stirring about, it wasn’t his desire; no matter what the others did, he was sitting by the fire. Same old story, day by day, he never seemed to tire; while others worked to build their church, he was sitting by the fire. At last, he died as all of us do, some say he went up higher; but if he’s doing what he used to do, he’s sitting by the fire.” I’m not saying your works will get you into Heaven. But I am saying, if you are saved, you will want to work for the Kingdom. Why? Because of your love for and your appreciation for what Jesus did on the Cross for you. How someone can miss Sunday after Sunday and not be involved in their church is way beyond me. Maybe, just maybe, one day they will be “sitting by the fire.”
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
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Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 2343 U.S. Route 42, London, one mile west of Kirkwood Cemetery. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at email@example.com or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.