Sometimes we need to let go to serve.
Would your church allow Rehab the prostitute to serve coffee in the hospitality room?
“But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?” (James 2:18-21)
“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.’ You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (2:22-26)
This passage has been used to motivate many a Believer into filling their role of service in the Body of Christ. This is a good thing.
However, for the first time, I noticed that the two examples given in this passage as deeds weren’t really the christian-service options that are ever-popular in our churches today.
After all, Abraham didn’t sacrifice his morning of sleeping in to make coffee in the hospitality room of the church. And Rahab the prostitute, would she even be allowed to make coffee in our churches?
I can hear the comments now…
“Who knows what kind of filth might get on the mugs? What if someone connected her to her past life?“
I would propose to you that both of these examples of deeds were people who did not give anything, but gave up something.
Abraham was required to give up his son Isaak in order to serve God and was about to, if God hadn’t of stopped him. There was no large crowd at the altar to see Abraham’s commitment level. No opportunity to boast in his service to the Lord.
Moving to Rahab, who was in the business of satisfying selfish desires. She put her life on the line in order to protect and help God’s people. Obviously her story has been re-told. But at the time, how would she have felt about the word getting out?
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that both of these examples of service found in James, were potential sacrifices of life. We would be wise to take note of that fact when we decide to boast our ushering duties or ladies breakfast, as deeds of faith.
For those of us as ministry leaders, our positions may be what God is calling us to sacrifice, as a deed of faith. Perhaps some of you read that statement and are shocked, thinking…
“But a ministry position is full of deeds of faith!“
To some extent, I agree.
And yet, whether it be a Pastor, Ministry Director or even a Missionary serving in a distant, foreign land. We all have the potential to become so puffed with pride about our service, that our deeds of faith are no longer of value.
Then it’s time for some sacrifice.
In the Book of Isaiah, chapter 64, we read the following:
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isa. 64:6)
Join the Conversation, Leave Your Thoughts
What service or ministry would be the most difficult to give up? Would you be able to lay it down if Jesus asked?