Spending a whole year in James with the kiddos is very interesting. We move slowly through verse and yet circumstances/books/verses/discussions have all kept coming up through the seasons that add meat and complement to where we are in James. Hmmmm....
For example: one verse from Luke has really stuck with me since this past summer -
"When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you;"
In order to invite those in need, I have to see them. I have to have my eyes open, and have my eyes opened. As with most things in the past, when I pray ask God to lead me, He uses my willingness in ways in which I never would have imagined. This all then leads me back into James 2, where I am seeing that this whole living out of my faith is very personal, very in my face, very day-to-day. I know I have shown partiality, I know that I have overlooked those in true need. And then, of course, there's this:
"What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?"
Hello. Then this past week I read on Cindy's blog a very good commentary on something that Eric and I have always been troubled by: how are we showing partiality right in our church meetings? Our activities of fellowship? We have been on both ends: the ones who have been given bags of groceries or anonymous envelopes of money (tears of gratitude!) and the ones who were able to give. But aren't traditional churches set up these days in America to be prohibitive to giving to the poor right in their midst? If we are in the pew and get passed the plate, we are expected to put something in for the salary(ies), the electric bill, the missions to the poor that are "out there". Then everyone can meet at the restaurant after "church" for a great $40 fellowship meal. Isn't this part of the reason the truly poor and needy and invisible people stay "out there" and our church meetings have become so uniformly middle-upper class?
The Church (universal) has to be a safe place to come as we are. Our lives have to be opened to sharing the tangible gospel of Jesus Christ by living open, knowing that nothing is "mine", all is to be shared, given away, used up, including myself.