What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 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.
His Christian walk began with a lot of prayer. When he learned of the power God can exhibit simply from his children asking for his help, he was amazed. It did not matter what kind of problem or circumstance came his way, he was asking God for help. He developed a very regular habit of prayer whether it was a prayer of need or of thanksgiving. Although this was a wonderful habit to develop, he began to pray always and act never. He had complete faith that God would answer his requests, but he never thought that he could be the answer himself. He would pray for others’ needs, but he would never think to actually meet those needs. The truth is that God’s provision requires that he be an active participant.
Many of us have been in the same position. It is so common for us to hear each other’s prayer requests and naturally move forward in prayer. Sometimes we pray with them, and other times we take the request and pray on our own. Prayer is good, but action is better. I remember going to meet a friend for dinner, and a man stopped me asking for money to buy a sandwich. I had no cash on me, but something prompted me to do more than just pray for his provision. I invited him to join us. He declined, but his response clearly indicated that he was moved by the offer. I imagine our Father in heaven responding the same way when we decide to do what we can for others instead of just asking God to intervene without us.
Our struggle regarding this thing called Christian generosity is real, and many of us are still working our way toward understanding it. For me, I think a simple rule can keep me on track. If I am able to give, I should give. If I am not able to give, I should pray. I cannot believe it is a coincidence when God has equipped me to meet a need someone shares with me. I cannot believe that person just happened to come to me instead of anyone else. I must see these instances as opportunities to mutually build my faith and theirs. Father, give us the wisdom to know when we are able to meet another’s need, that we would not always pray and never act.