Rev. Frank C. Senn
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. (James 1:14-17, 26)
Martin Luther regarded Christian works as faith active in love. He is reported to have said, “God has taken care of my salvation, so I am free to take care of the needs of my neighbor.” He proposed that towns set up community chests to take care of the needy poor. Through the church we support social service agencies, homeless shelters, food banks, soup kitchens, etc. But personal almsgiving should be a part of our response to our Lord’s injunction, “Whenever you give alms…” I knew a young man who kept coins and bills in his car cup holder so that whenever a homeless person was begging at intersections, he could grab whatever he could and place it in the outstretched plastic cup. That’s faith with works.
Prayer: Lord, open our hearts to the needy poor and open our hands to help them, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, who opened his heart to us and extended his hands on the cross to save us. Amen.