14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. The book of James 2:14-18
As a Christian, we tend to look at our fellow brother and sister in a time of need and say “I will pray for you”. We show them that we care through the prayers that we offer. A lot of the times, we need more than just the prayers to help a brother in need. In the scripture above, Paul is asking what good is it to offer someone our prayer when they are hungry or cold but not actually try to feed them or warm them.
This week we are reminded of this idea of showing your faith by action. megachurch pastor Joel Os has also learned this lesson the hard way. Osteen sent a Tweet out after Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area saying the following:
Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family.
Osteen offered his prayers, but there was no action at this point. He later announced that Lakewood Church has opened their doors for those who need shelter. Employees of the church also claimed that there was flooding in the church and around the church, but eyewitnesses debunk the claim. I’m not sure either way.
On a side note: I want to give Joel Osteen a lesson in PR. Joel, next time there is a disaster in your area, offer your prayers and say something like “The church and I are looking into different ways to help in relief efforts”, that might help you slow the negativity from the peanut gallery.
Show me your faith through your works.
In the book of James, Paul is urging people to not just offer up prayers and sympathy to those in need: be proactive in showing the love of Jesus in your work.
I don’t like to brag or showcase when I get actively involved in relief efforts or donating money to causes. But when I get vocal about hypocrisy in the Christian church for offering prayer with no action, I want to be able to tell people that I have given my part. So for the interest of full disclosure, I have donated $25 to the Calvary La Habra relief effort.
Joel Osteen did not offer any sort of action with his faith. One church official said that Lakewood Church was actually waiting to see when other shelters were going to get to full capacity before opening their doors…you know, how Jesus waited until there was no more food to feed the masses.
Empty prayers and promises mean nothing to those in need. I understand that sometimes you don’t have the means to donate money or supplies or your time, and that’s totally okay! What’s not okay is to be a pastor worth $50 Million and not offering the support you should. Or at least lie about it. C’mon man!
Prayer and Action are keys to a good witness.
In closing, your prayers and your action will be the witness you need to reach other people. Put your words to action, and let your action do the talking.
Donate to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts: