If a brother or sister 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, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:15-17
In the late 1800s, "Slow Sam" was hired to sweep streets of his small town in Iowa.
The job description required Sam, once a week, to clean off the sidewalks in front of the town's stores and businesses. It was not a high-paying job, nor was it the kind of position to which people aspired. Still Sam was a friendly fellow, and his conversations made him many friends.
One of those friendly folks Sam met was Mrs. Gidding, the lady who owned a haberdashery on the corner of Main Street. After Sam swept her walk, Mrs. Gidding always took him a glass of lemonade and a slice of cake. While Sam always thanked the lady for her kindness, it took until the end of summer before he really showed his appreciation.
That night Sam knocked on the door of Mrs. Gidding's home. When she opened the door, Sam presented her with a sack of apples and a dozen ears of sweet corn. He said, "I brought you these, Ma'am, for your kindness."
"Oh, you shouldn't!" exclaimed Mrs. Gidding. "What I did was nothing."
Then the street sweeper said an odd thing. He agreed with her and replied, "Maybe not, Ma'am, but it was more than was done by anybody else."
You know, I suppose most of the Christians of that small Iowa town would have done the same as Mrs. Gidding ... if they had thought about it. Sadly, it just never occurred to them to help out the poor street sweeper. They went about doing their work, and they thought he should do the same.
No further interaction was necessary.
I give thanks the Lord hasn't treated us that way. He could have done just that, you know. He could have left us going through our lives without any interaction between Him and us. Instead of doing that, He decided to intervene by sending His Son into the world to live, die and rise for us. Now, because of Jesus' actions, all who believe are forgiven and given a place in the kingdom of heaven.
This means that we, in thanksgiving to the Redeemer, are given the opportunity to respond. Most certainly we ought to be appreciative to Jesus, but we also can show our gratitude by responding favorably to others, even if it is with just a piece of cake and a glass of lemonade.
As James said, such acts are the result of a thankful, living faith.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Jesus did all that was necessary to move us from hell to heaven. Now, in thankfulness may we reflect the love we have received from the Savior to others. In Jesus' Name we ask for the ability and willingness to do so. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries