But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:22-27 ESV)
We like to go to church. We like to wear Christian t-shirts. We like to post about our small groups. We like to read our Bibles. We like to Instagram our devotions. We like to do a lot of Christian things, but there’s a lot we also like to shy away from.
Time is our currency and we are all too often selfish with it. As believers, our bodies, time, money, and life no longer belong to us. We are Christ’s first and foremost.
A little over a week ago I met a man named David, not King David as he likes to clarify, who is currently homeless. I bought a couple of milkshakes and sat down with him one hot afternoon in between some errand running. He said that people will often give him money or food but no one has ever stopped to talk to him. He sang me a couple of songs he had written and let me pray for him. He was truly grateful and even shared some of his cardboard so that I didn’t have to sit on the hot sidewalk. I saw him a week later with Justin and he remembered my name, my husband’s name, and all the things we had talked about before. He almost had enough money to make it back home to see his family and loved that we stopped by to talk with him before he left town.
Friends, we are called to go to church. It’s great to wear Christian t-shirts. It’s fine to post about our small groups. We are supposed to read our Bibles. It’s good to Instagram our devotions. All these things are wonderful, but there is no excuse to be selfish with our time and ignore those around us in need. Countless cars drove by as I talked with David, even a church van. James calls religion “worthless” that does not serve and care. I’m not trying to glorify my actions with David, I am just asking you to be obedient.
I have a simple routine when I see someone in need. I often have something in the car just in case but if not, I go to the nearest gas station to pick up water or a resturaunt to buy a gift card, park nearby, introduce myself to the person, and talk. I ask about their story, share a little of mine, and pray with them. I am not telling you to follow my routine, but what is your response to people in need?
Just tonight we stopped to talk to a lady at the same redlight. Her and her husband were in tears and said they were praying for someone to stop and pray for them as the wife, Amber, has an interview tomorrow. You never know how God is going to use your time.
Do you choose to ignore or do you choose to address?
God is so faithful to guide and give discretion. Simply seek His leading when you see homeless, neighbors, friends, and stangers in need.