Monday, October 26, 2009

Faith in Action

James 2:14-18 New International Version (NIV)
Faith and Deeds
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If 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? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

I remember in my former church the pastor proclaimed himself to be a faith teacher. He professed to have a great anointing in the faith area. On more that one occasion I heard him call his wonderful faith that he had perfected "BMW faith". He got all kinds of material things with his faith. His great BMW faith got him a BMW, houses, fine dinners, top of the line suits, top of the line shoes, jewelry for his wife, extravagant vacations, the best of everything. He encouraged and provoked his congregation to believe for the best of all material things. After all, he taught that if you had nice things, money and looked good that it would attract people to God and if you looked not so good that no one would be attracted to God. Of course there is not one place in the Bible that teaches this, but he was such a master manipulator that as he strung one scripture after another together, taken out of context, to form his wonderful faith doctrine , I bought it hook, line and sinker.

Never were we pushed or provoked to use our faith to reach out to the community, to reach the lost, to feed the hungry, or to help the needy. Our church did have a prison ministry but no outreach to the community unless there was gain in it for the church.

I went to Linn Park in downtown Birmingham last Sunday morning and I saw a man with GREAT FAITH for the first time. He arrived at the park before 7:00 a.m. and began to set up. He had a small trailer equipped to serve hot food. He pulled out his generator to power his speakers and sound system. He was not there to preach church. He was not there to teach faith. He was not there to take up and offering. He was there to tell people about the saving grace and the love of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not a part of his message. The name of Jesus was not thrown about as a way to get things. The message was Jesus and only Jesus. He came there for people who had nothing to give in return. He was there for the homeless, the forgotten, the ignored and the destitute. He came to tell them that Jesus loves them, that He died for them, that they are of value to God, that they were important. My former pastor referred to these type of people as "losers". This man looked on them as treasures. After he and the others who had chosen to come out in the cold on that Sunday morning had ministered to all who wanted to receive Jesus as their personal savior and all who wanted prayer, he opened up the window of his trailer and began to serve a hot meal to each individual.

I stood and watched with tears in my eyes and asked God to forgive me for all those wasted years that I allowed my selfishness and self centered thinking to put me in a position to believe a false doctrine that faith was all about getting things for myself and getting the good life for myself.

I could see this man in Heaven with a multitude coming up to him and thanking him for touching their lives for Jesus. I could see Jesus telling him that when he had done this unto the least of these, he had done it unto Jesus. I could see Jesus telling him, "Well done my good and faithful servant"

I don't think I will hear those words because I believed for a car, a house, a job, clothes or money. If I recall correctly I believe that Jesus told the multitudes to take no thought for these things, but seek first the kingdom of God and all these things would be added unto us. Maybe if all these things aren't being added unto us it has nothing to do with what we believe God for, maybe it has to do with us seeking after the wrong things.