Faith and Works
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. (James 2:18)
Some of the most beautiful churches in America, the massive stone edifices that adorn cities and towns across the country, were built with donations from the “robber barons” of the 19th and 20th centuries. These men amassed great wealth but often through ruthless and unethical business practices. But on Sunday mornings, you could often find them sitting in these stately churches, singing hymns, reciting prayers, confessing sins.
Our relationship with God (let’s call that faith) should influence the way we live our lives (we’ll call that works). And the way we live our lives should reflect our relationship with God. Faith and works are intertwined with one another.
Our faith says that we must love our neighbor as ourselves. Putting this into works means treating everyone with dignity and respect.
Our faith calls upon us to be forgiving as we have been forgiven. Putting this into works means letting go of our grudges.
Our faith calls us to care for the least of these among us. Works means generously sharing our blessings with the world.
To hold our faith and works together the way the Letter of James calls us to do, we need to build up our faith and be intentional in nurturing a relationship with God. We also must be aware of our actions and reflect on the connection between what we do and who God calls us to be.
Faith is more than just what happens on Sunday in worship. What we do Monday through Saturday will show the world our faith.