Show me the money.
James 2:14, 26
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
There’s a song from the movie musical My Fair Lady that I love, Audrey Hepburn singing to the man who would woo her, “Don’t speak of stars shining above, if you’re in love, show me. Don’t say your heart’s filled with desire, if you’re on fire, show me.” She didn’t want him to just tell her pleasing things. She didn’t want mere words. She wanted action.
In my relationship with God, who alone is worthy of all love, all honor, all glory, I extol praises and profess my belief in Christ Jesus, His Only Begotten Son, my Lord and the Lord of all. I keep a blog (Divine Incarnate) full of postings in which I reflect upon the heart of God and man and try to layout some of the ways in which we can all live full lives, our hearts filled with truth and love. I witness with my words. But… What about my actions? I write about my faith and the value of what I believe in – but what do I do in my daily life? I write that we should do this or that – but do I? Like in the movie Jerry Maguire, where the sports agent makes lots of promises to the athlete, but he, in turn, just keeps saying, “Show me the money!” – Where is my money, where is my invested output, where are my expenditures of time and effort – where are my works?
As Jesus tells us through St. Luke’s Gospel account, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” And these were not mere words to Jesus. He lived what he professed, he carried out that to which he bore witness – he did what he said he would do. “Love one another as I have loved you,” sounds pretty. And it could be just that: a pretty phrase. But, Christ loved us bodily, with his actions, with the entirety of his being his very body and blood. He put his money where his mouth is. By his actions, there is no doubt where his heart is.
We love because God first loved us – and this love is not just a nice feeling or pretty sentiment, it is not merely a metaphysical kind of holding in one’s heart. This is brilliantly clear in the Judeo-Christian faith, which testifies to God’s works, God’s direct action in space and time. God loves us into existence – the act of Creation. God unites Godself to us and sanctifies us – the act of God becoming Man, Christ Jesus. And God saves us – the act of dying on the Cross and rising from the Dead. Through Christ’s actions, God restores us to the fullness of life, life eternal. To receive what is given graciously to us, we must follow Christ. To follow him with our minds, our thoughts and intellects, is not enough. To follow him with our affections and sentiments is not enough. To fully follow Jesus Christ, and so be true Christians, we must follow with our bodies, too. We must follow with our whole selves, mindful that love is not something esoteric – love is action. So, to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, and with all our strength is to DO. ACTION. We love, not with our lips or sentiments, but with our works. We love with our choices and our actions.
The jobs that people do every day to actively contribute to society are called professions. The tenets of faith that people believe are also called professions. I need to find a hearty, meaty, bodily way to bring these two concepts together in my daily life. Writing about the faith is an action – but I do need to be careful and be sure that the faith about which I am writing is not dead. This truly needs to be my faith, the faith that I profess by living it, my profession. And, so, to facilitate this – to bear better witness by being a better witness – I will try to post some of my personal acts of faith, the “works” that I do in everyday life. (Hope I can find some….) Mindful always, however, that I do nothing on my own. If any of my actions are worthy of the faith that I profess, it is the Holy Spirit working through me. All that I will have done is to accept, by the grace of God, the love that is given to me and to let that active love do what it must do as true love.
(If you wish to find out whether or not I put my money where my mouth is, I invite you to follow my blog Divine Incarnate and look for the category “works” or the tag “faith without works is dead”.)