I am not a preacher, a preachers wife or a student of theology, so when I try to explain something, it comes from my heart and how I interpret what I am reading. So I want to talk today on a very simple passage that I am going to try to interpret in my own eyes.
James 2:14-26 the most oft times I believe misunderstood Biblical passage and that is, 'Faith without Works is dead.' So many people say I am saved and other places in the Bible say no matter what I do my works doesn't count, so this doesn't apply to me. Or they may say something to the fact that you can't volunteer your way into heaven. Or....if Jesus died for my sins, what more do I need to do?
I think it boils down to having and not sharing. Giving and not caring. Loving and being selfish. To me, it doesn't tell me to go overboard in putting my family in debt to help others, kill myself making quilts for everyone, take food off my table to give to someone else, it tells us to use our head and hearts and make the right decision.
I have seen bell ringers standing outside, smiling and greeting people who have so much more, people who are cranky and these people just run past the bell ringer for fear they may say 'Merry Christmas,' and then they might have to give a few pennies to the pot.
I have seen grown ups speak downright rudely and take the spark out of a child's heart when they ask if they want to purchase cookies or popcorn. Does it make you feel better to belittle a child? What possesses someone to be mean when all they need to say is, no thank you.'
Don't get me wrong here, I am not saying you have to give to everyone everything, but I am saying if you have 5 coats hanging in your closet and you can't wear 3 of them, don't tell someone that is freezing without a coat, you will pray for them that God provides. Honey, God did provide, He sent you to see a person was in need, now you need to respond.
Honestly, if you just walk away from that, how are you going to be blessed?
If you see a child in the neighborhood wearing shoes that are duct taped together (and I have seen this), or holes in the bottoms and you tell that child, 'come little one and let me pray that someone will buy you shoes.' Then you walk away, get in your car and head out to your monthly pedicure and manicure which costs $75 a pop. You just missed your blessing.
Just as if we have faith and do not produce, our faith won't save us and just as we do all works and have no faith, our works won't save us. What we need is both!
Some people are prideful, I get that and they will not allow you to help them, but if you keep at it and find just the right way to present it, they will accept your help and kindness.
Several years back, a neighbor took a shine to my grandchildren and he and another neighbor drove almost an hour away to do some school shopping for my grandchildren and I knew nothing about it. They guessed at their sizes and did amazingly accurate. They showed up at our home with bags of beautiful cloths. Now, we could afford to purchase school clothes, we hadn't done it yet and with their generosity, I didn't have to spend as much.
I could have turned it away, I could have said, we can't accept that, we don't know you very well, please give it to someone else. Would I have hurt their feelings? Absolutely! Would I have taken their joy? Without a doubt! But more than that, I would have robbed them of their blessing.
When they were talking about doing this several weeks later, one of my husbands co-workers over heard them and took it out of context and went back to my husband stating, 'I hear you need money and can't afford to buy school clothes for your grandchildren and that so and so had to do it.' My husband was furious! I told him...'so what!' These people wanted to bless us, they did bless us and it doesn't matter what others think.
Pride goes before a fall! Pride will leave you hungry on the streets when you turn a meal down and are starving. Don't let pride stop you from blessing others or cause you to steal someone else's blessing by turning their kindness and generosity down.
When I had back surgery, for 3 weeks, the women of my church dropped meals off to our home daily at 5:00. Initially my husband squawked and growled about how he can handle dinner, he can cook, he can do this and that, he doesn't need anyone's help...wah, wah, wah.....
By the second week, he was looking for those meals at 4:40 to 4:45, he was relieved he could care for me, do what he needed to do around the home and NOT have to cook. He was blessed.
However, not everyone that receives blessings gives back and I believe that is what this passage is about. Give back to those in need. You can't pray a meal into a person who is hungry, has no job or money. You can't pray shoes onto that child whose parents spend the money on booze or drugs. You can't pray warmth into a person who has no coat.
I know, I know I have been yapping about giving the past few days, but I believe in my heart, at times like these, God writes this blog because there is someone who needs to hear it. I don't know who that person is, only they know and if this helps one person give and receive a blessing, then I have done what I am supposed to go.