the weblog of Alan Knox

Scripture… As We Live It #2

Posted by on May 18, 2008 in as we live it, love, scripture, service | 4 comments

Here is the second installment of “Scripture… As We Live It“:

If a brother or sister member of your particular church organization is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body referring them to the Benevolence Committee, what good is that? (James 2:15-16 remix)


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  1. 5-18-2008

    I am guilty, Lord, please forgive me of not being as interested in helping those brothers and sisters I don’t know as I am in helping those I do know.


    When I see someone on the side of the road with the cardboard “Unemployed Please Help” sign, what is my responsibility as a Christian? I know that far too often, they are not really in need. The Bible says that if someone won’t work (as opposed to someone who cannot work), they should not eat (II Thess 3:10). So, if I help that person, am I violating Scripture?

    What I have done … but not often enough … is to contribute to agencies that I know work with people who are truly in need. And maybe I need to be contributing some time to those same agencies. But then I might get to know some of the people I am helping and I would be guilty again of not helping people I don’t know. Maybe that is okay, though.

  2. 5-18-2008

    This is in response to what anonymous had just posted.
    If we try to judge someone’s motives as to why they need help, then we will end up trying to justify why we cannot help. Yes, there are some out there that will abuse the system, but there are many that are not doing that. They are really trying. Last Dec, I bought some gifts for a local family that I did not know. My husband asked why I would do that since I had no idea if this family really needed them. I told him, God only asked me to help, he did not ask me to judge their situation. If someone is going to take things they do not need, then that is between them and God.
    We don’t know how God is going to work in someone’s life.

  3. 5-18-2008

    Anonymous #1,

    I’m assuming that your comment is sarcastic, and that you agree with the “remix” rendering of James 2:15-16. If so, thank you for illustrating that the “remix” version is in fact the way that James 2:15-16 is often “lived out”.

    Anonymous #2,

    I tend to understandin James 2:15-16 as you explained it. If God reveals that someone is in need, and if I have the means to meet that need, then it is my responsibility to meet that need. I think this will happen more often with those that you know the best – simply because you know about their needs. But, I also think there will be times when God reveals that someone that you just met – did not know previously – has a need. I am to be a “neighbor” to that person as well.


  4. 5-21-2008

    I plan to write about this in more details, but I figured I’d share some of it here, for I think it is appropriate.

    The other Tuesday, we were studying through Luke and got to 6:29-36.

    … Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. … if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. …But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. … Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

    This passage generated some level of discussion because of its message, which is radically different from what our culture teaches, but I realized that when we look at the structure of the argument it is centered on the fact that we are called to be different, because God is different. We are to represent Him to the world by our actions. Therefore it seems that this is almost a filter through which we need to operate: a filter guided by the Holy Spirit, as you said. I would not lend my car to a drunk driver: that would not represent God to him. But I should involve myself personally in the lives of the people God puts in my path, and I should show them mercy, because that is exactly what God does and therefore that represents God to them.