“But some will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26
I drive by and run by this tree many times per day. It is in the empty field beside of our house. It has had limbs to break free and land in the roadway. There are many dead limbs that have fallen at the base of the tree. I want someone to take it down before someone gets hurt. If it falls the way I think it will, we will all be without power for quite some time. It is a danger to the community.
You can’t see it very well but the tree has friends behind it. Full of foliage, some turning, some falling. But they are flourishing. Same piece of property, same soil, perhaps different species of trees but nonetheless one is dead and the others are thriving. What happened here? Was it an insect, damage to the root system, or was it diseased? I don’t have the answer but as I pondered it I began to think about faith.
Friends please hear me clearly on this. You can do all the good things that you can possibly perceive and not know Jesus and it has little benefit. It’s all about your heart motive. Works cannot and will not ever save you or get you into Heaven. Works are an overflow of what is going on in your heart. Out of our great love for our Savior, we seek to serve Him in the ways that He puts before us. When we act on it, it exhibits our faith.
On the flip side of that, you cannot be saved and not do good things for other people. Jesus is not to be hoarded up all to yourself. His love and grace should be an extension of our faith. If you don’t have these works, maybe you should check your relationship with Christ, maybe you have damage to your root system. If you do have them and are doing them to be acknowledged by the world or other Christians, maybe you should check your relationship with Christ, there may be an insect eating away on the inside. I am by no means condemning anyone. I always talk to you about what I have experienced.
I love cardinals. I am so excited to see one. Every. Single. Time. We were driving down the road and I saw a dead one just lying right beside of the road! I was horrified! I thought, “Jesus, what does THAT mean?” Immediately faith without works is dead came to my mind. I had become so wrapped up in what was going on with me that I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around me.
When my eyes were opened I began to see opportunities every day to serve Him. To be His hands and feet. As soon as one would pass another would open up. It was then that I started to wonder about that dead tree. I thought, “Was that me Lord?” I didn’t feel a response but I know in my heart it was a yes. See we can get wrapped up in doing good things, church service and so on but miss the every day opportunities God places before us because we may think, “I am serving. I am doing my part.”
No! A thousand times no! Serving at church is fantastic and I applaud you for doing so. But please don’t mistake that for all you are called to do. It’s every day life where it happens. There is a sign above the exit of a church that says, “You are entering the mission field.” YES! That’s what I am talking about right there!
You don’t have to be the dead tree in the middle of the flourishing field! You can be one of the trees with all of the foliage! Every time one of those brightly colored leaves of yours falls, another person is fed, another person is invited to church, a weary Mom gets the afternoon off, another child gets to play catch, someone walking down the street gets a ride and it goes on and on…
Where will Jesus send you today? Aren’t you excited? Isn’t it just amazing to know that the Creator of all has an assignment just for YOU today? Be open, look in all places. He wants you to flourish! Pray and see what amazing thing lies in your path today! All praise to Him who is worthy!!