Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to
him, Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about his
physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not
accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:15-17).
The boys of my high school Sunday school class were rowdy as usual. I stepped up to the
podium and opened my Bible in preparation to teach a lesson on Christian discipleship, and
looked around at the boys as they gabbed on. Pulling out a small piece of notepad paper, I
asked if there were any prayer requests. One of the boys began telling the class about a
girl who was having a lot of problems and really needed a friend. As I listened, my lesson
that I had planned quickly was replaced by some other words the Lord gave me for that
The impromptu lesson was on the parable of the good Samaritan. We began discussing what it
meant to be a true and honest help to someone in their time of need. We talked about how
we could reach out to all different kinds of people, especially those who were not
generally accepted by the majority of society, as well as the church. We talked about how
to reach out to some who needed help, but who fought against getting the help. We talked
about reaching out to people who have suffered loss--how to be there, what to say and when
not to say anything. In the last few minutes of class, the thought occurred to me that we
had discussed this subject pretty thorough, and that the only thing left to do was to ask
a simple question, What are we going to do with what we have talked about?
Its amazing sometimes how much talking goes on and how much planning is done, only
to go no further. We find it difficult to commit to a new task or effort as a group, and
we find ourselves too preoccupied with the busyness our lives to remember to do anything
on our own. It seems that only a few of the good intentions actually become a good work;
while so many get heaped on the pile of regrets and if onlys. If
only I had more time. If only I had more money. If only I had more help... If only
we were more committed to a cause greater than ourselves.
But lest I sound too cynical, there are efforts that are being made to reach out, to help
the needy, to share Gods love to a stranger. One example can be found in a couple of
pieces of paper I found on my television set at home. My wife had picked up the heart
shaped cut-outs from the church one Sunday and had brought them home to commit us to
filling the request printed on them. Each one represented a child for which a gift was to
be bought for Christmas. The interesting thing about these red, cutout hearts is that they
were not alone. They each had two, white, cutout wings attached to them. This struck me
with the profound truth they represented--love in action--hearts with wings. They were a
visual aid that spoke volumes on the verses in James depicted above: We can have hearts
that are filled with love, but until the love takes action, what good is it?
We know that there are many things we can do to help the needy of this world. We could
each probably make a list of at least two or three things that could be done. But we must
remember that the list will never be complete until we have done something more than just
right it down. Pray today that God will give wings to the hearts of His children this
Christmas. For if each of us would turn one good intention into a good work, we will truly
see Gods love take flight this Christmas.
And so His gift of love goes on...