Some Things Belong Together

The statement: “Put your money where your mouth is,” sounds trite. But there’s no confusion about the implication. And it certainly sums up what James talks about in his chapter 2: 14-26. James outlines three scenarios: faith and deeds: deeds without faith, and faith without deeds or action. Genuine faith doesn’t spout off platitudes like: God bless you; Keep well, Go in peace— when we are wallowing in a ditch of pain, sorrow or heat break. Sincere faith is like a hydraulic arm extension of a Spirit filled heart. It reaches out far greater than imagined when noteworthy needs are addressed.
Joseph, the father to Jesus, illustrates the first point. After learning Mary, his betrothed, was pregnant, Joseph had two options: have her stoned, or quietly put her away. His faith in God however, directed his actions. His decision would alarm family and community. But his hydraulic arms reached out to Mary. He loved her and took her as his wife. Faith is not keeping the law, but spirals out beyond it.
The flip side is point two: those who feel their deeds, not faith, are enough. In 1997 a young man named Andres Rodriguez, challenged Donald Trump after he offered to buy Nike sneakers for the students at Andres’ school. He asked, “Why did you offer us sneakers if you could give us scholarships?” Trump missed the moment. Had he the faith and love of God his offer wouldn’t have gone sour with self-pride. If he had provided the means to educate the students, they could afford their own sneakers. But his actions had no heart and it fell short.
On a lighter note, the following demonstrates the final point: an empty faith with no action. There was a man who prayed to God that if he won the lottery he’d give God half of the earnings. But the drawing came and went with no success. Again he prayed, “Oh, Father, I don’t understand. I have the faith and the belief that You can make this happen. I’ll give Your missionaries more than half.” But again for the second and the third time, he did not win. Dismayed he approached God: “Lord, I don’t understand. I feel I have the faith to move mountains. What happened?” Then he heard a voice: “Buy a ticket!” The man’s superficial faith had no depth to act to what he professed.
What about our faith? Is it like Joseph’s centered in God, ready to reach beyond the norm with our hydraulic arms? Can we put action [money] where our mouth is? Or are we stuck with deeds of show, as Trump, over faith of heart? Or perhaps we expound we have the faith and do nothing.
Some things belong together: Baseball and hot dogs; Christmas and presents; smart phones and texting; faith and deed. The ultimate duo is the Cross and Christ, where our spiritual journey of faith began.