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
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