Over the weekend, I was reading the Bible with Courtney, when we stumbled upon the section below, from James 2:14-17 (NIV):
(14) What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (15) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. (16 ) 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? (17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Wow. Instantly after reading that passage, I had one of those lightbulb moments in life. That’s me. I’m the guy who says “Have a safe trip… I hope things get better… We’ll be thinking of you…”
I feel that I’m kind by nature. I really do hurt for people when they are in need. I really do wish that their circumstances would turn for them. I’ll even take time to listen and provide any advice if that’s what I feel they need.
But often, I stop short of helping them in any real, tangible way. Why? I’m not sure. I guess because it’s convenient. It’s convenient to think “Oh, I hope that homeless guy catches a break” or “I’m not giving him any money, he’ll just spend it on booze.”
So many times I hear myself saying, “If you need anything… anything at all… let me know!” I really do feel that way when I say it to people, but at the same time… this is such a cop-out. I know 95% of the time, even if they were in need of help, they’d have trouble asking. Even with an open invitation, our society teaches us not to rely on others… not to ask for help.
Talkers vs. Doers
Yesterday, J.D. Roth published a post entitled, Action Not Words: The Difference Between Talkers and Doers. You need to read that post, I think it is one of J.D.’s best posts he’s ever written.
It’s so easy to be a talker, especially when it comes to helping others in need. It’s easy to put the ball in their court… Let me know if you need anything… It’s easy to hope that they get help.
But, we don’t have the time… make it!
But, we don’t have the money… change your priorities!
As a cultural, we love saying “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed.” It makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. It lets me feel warm and fuzzy, while keeping my selfish priorities in tact!
But a Doer, they take the hard next step. They offer help outright. They take the burden off the person and need and take it upon themselves. They stop and talk to the homeless… they walk them to the food stand to buy them food. They apply to be foster parents, even when they could easily have more kids themselves (or once their kids are grown and moved out).
They do more than wish and hope… they act. They prioritize their time and their money to enable them to give a little of both. They show their beliefs and their faith through actions. They lead and inspire, both the people they help directly and the people (like me) on the sidelines and waiting to jump in the game.
Courtney and I have the ability to put helping others and volunteering at the front our lives. In all likelyhood, so do you.
We’ve decided to take steps in the coming weeks and months to re-prioritize the role kindness and giving play in our lives. We want them to be at the very front, leading our other values not just in theory… but in action.
I’ll share details about our personal changes in the coming weeks. Come join us. Take action.
photo by dhilung