Scripture Focus: “You must be doers of the word and not hearers only.” — James 1:22-24

I was conducting a workshop for those who wanted to learn how to speak in public. Deep into my introduction of the materials, the young woman sitting closest to me raised her hand. “Are you saying that all of us are required to make a public speech before the workshop ends?” “Yes,” I answered. What did you expect?” “I thought that you would just tell us how to do it and we would listen.” She replied.

This exchange demonstrates what is true about so much of today’s public Christianity. We are content to hear the truth, but we are reluctant to put that truth into action. Children go to bed hungry. Expectant mothers go without prenatal care. Our prisons are full of men and women unable to read and gun violence escalates. In the midst of such tragedies, we Christians are content within our church walls. Rev. Don Kirkland says in his book, Something Ventured, “Our Christianity must be visible to others or it is not Christianity at all.” He also answers the question, what did Jesus do during all of his time not accounted for in the Bible? “He went about doing good.”

Walter Rauschenbusch, the great advocate of the Social Gospel Movement, had two tables set up in the church he pastored for new members to sign up. One table was for enrolling as a new church member. The other was for enrolling for one of the church’s social action projects. Both enrollments were required. Rauschenbusch took James seriously.

Prayer Focus: Dear God, help me to understand that being a follower of Jesus demands that I be proactive on behalf of others. Amen.