“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?” (James 2:15-16 NIV).
Faith is more than something you just feel. Many people confuse emotions and feelings with faith. They come to church and they’re moved emotionally, they're inspired, and they're stimulated. But that doesn’t mean they’re walking in faith.
The Bible says faith is something we do, not just what we feel: “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?” (James 2:15-16 NIV).
In other words, faith is not mere sentimentality. Let’s say I go out on the street and I see someone who is homeless and destitute. I see that person is hungry, cold, in need of clothing and shelter. Would I be showing great faith if I walked up and said, “Cheer up! Don't worry, be happy! Feel good! Put on a happy face?”
It doesn’t take much faith to do that. Faith carries compassion. Faith says, “I’ll do anything I can to stop your hurt.” Throughout the New Testament, the witnesses say Jesus was moved with compassion for people. Jesus showed us that faith is practical.
When we see a need, we do something about it. We don't just toss out a quick --“Well, I'll pray for you.” The Bible says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.” If we see a Christian in need, we respond because that brother or sister is part of our family.
When you become a believer, you became part of God’s family. And as a result, you have some family responsibilities: You care when other Christians are hurt, or in pain, or in grief, or in sorrow, or in need. You show your faith by what you do.
It’s easy to think, ‘But I can't meet everybody's needs!’ That’s right. None of us can. But we can meet some. What we can do may not make a difference to everybody, but it will make a difference to those we help.
Think of it like this: When the tide went out, hundreds of starfish were stranded on the beach. A little boy began to pick them up and throw the starfish back into the ocean.
A man came along and asked, “What are you doing?” The boy said, “I’m putting the starfish back in the ocean.”
The man said, “But there's too many! You can’t make a difference for all of them!”
The boy tossed another starfish into the water, and said, “I bet it makes a difference for that one.”
One-by-one. Great opportunities to serve God often come as small opportunities to serve those around us who are in need.